This is an Urgent EVOKE progress report. All names have been changed to protect the identity of the subjects detailed in this report. A voice modulator has been used.
Well, I don't know why I put up with 'Matt' for so long. When we first met he was great - you know, he did all the nice stuff, took me out for meals, we went out dancing, we had a fab time. He said, that he'd save up for a wedding ring out of his salary at the depot and we'd have one of those, whatcha call them, 'civil marriages'. Then we'd have a baby, because we both wanted one, and get a house in a nicer part of the city. We'd be all sorted.
Things started to go wrong when he lost his job, with a few of the other boys. The recession, yeah? The company laid half of them off. He, of course, took it bad. Always did have a temper on him. He signed on the dole, but you couldn't get a job in construction back then. He went out drinking with his mates and came back completely hammered, first a couple of nights a week, then every night. He'd go on so much about Gordon f'in Brown, the immigrants, how they were stealing all the jobs, how the dole treated him like dog's mess.
So, I guess, we kinda forgot about the wh*** 'ten year' plan. 'Matt' couldn't afford a ring or anything else and my part-time at the local supermarket only just kept us in food and the bills paid. Came close sometimes though. He didn't see the point in looking for work so he didn't bother. During the day he just sat and watched telly. Only time he paid me much notice was well, you know.
Then, right, one of the girls told me a friend of hers had gotten knocked up and the council got her a nice house over on one of the nicer estates, and they gave her money to look after the bairn. Matt didn't like it though. I guess that's about when he started hitting me.
He'd say stuff like, "you're daft like, living with your head up in the clouds, council doesn't give you money if they can help it". Then he'd storm out to the pub and crash back through the door after midnight half-wasted and fall into bed.
Was it my fault? I dunno, even now. I dunno what made me do it, but I stopped taking the pill. After a couple of weeks my periods stopped. I got one of those baby tests from the shop. It came out positive.
'Matt' went mad when he found out. He got worse. Once he said he'd kick the baby out of me. Man, he tried. He told me to get an abortion. I agreed, but like, I didn't want to. I got an appointment at the clinic but I couldn't do it. I went to my sister's then I came back and told him I'd had it done. He stopped hitting me, for a while. I was skinny, I hid the bump under baggy clothes. Told him I was overweight. Eventually he caught on and it was even worse. But it was too late for an abortion.
I hated the cla**** they sent me on. Once one of the other mums saw a bruise, said she'd go tell someone. But I loved him, even then, I couldn't leave him, if they'd told someone they'd locked him up. Wish they had. But she didn't say anything. Tell you the truth I think she was scared of me. One of those posh lot, married and stuff with a posh house. Me a rough kid from the estate.
The day Mara was born was the happiest of my life. July 4th 2010. Independence Day... funny that. He came to the hospital after and saw her and I hoped, I hoped for one second he'd love her, that he'd see her and me and it'd be like we used to be.
He told me to get her adopted. He didn't want a squaly baby and besides, he said I'd be too busy looking after her to spend any time on him. I tried to argue but he could've hit me there and then in front of everyone. So I kept quiet. Put on a show for the nurses. When we got home he hit me. Got the forms, made me sign them. I told him I wouldn't. He hit me so hard, I don't remember what happened. Woke up with Mara screaming and Matt gone to the pub.
I had a few hours till he would come back. I looked at Mara... I thought, what if he hits her too? I couldn't handle it. So I ran. I took Mara and I took what I could and ran. Found myself here at the Refuge.
Well. Mara's ten now. She's a bright one alright, gets picked on a bit by the other kids at school but she's a good kid. The people at the Refuge were good to us. When we turned up on the doorstep they got us a room, just like that. Even got some clothes for Mara and they fed us and stuff, but what was great was that I didn't have to worry about Matt beating me or her up. The other mums were great too. After a while the Refuge people and WWIN got me a house, even gave us furniture!
I'm a social worker now, helping women like me. Didn't hear from Matt again, but then it's not like I wanted to. I've got a new life and he's not in it.
End of Report.