My voice is for all of the victims, survivors, for those who lost their lives at the hands of their partners and for those who are still living in silence, experiencing domestic violence.

How sad it is to see on the television news, newspapers and to hear on the radio how the number of victims of domestic violence is increasing.

It is terrible that during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 there was an even greater increase in the number of women locked up suffering and living unsafe in their own homes in different countries.

Where in Donegal, the Women’s Domestic Violence Service has seen a 70 per cent increase of women seeking its service.

The truth is that it is difficult for victims of domestic violence to contact services due to the fear and insecurity in which they live.

It takes many years, months, days, weeks to make the decision, the courage and strength to seek help to leave and escape from the environment of anguish, sadness, fear, abuse and violence.

It would be important to start a campaign of information and programs in schools, high schools, universities, for employees and society, to raise awareness. Let’s prepare our children by informing and educating them against this terrible situation of domestic violence, because every day more and more women continue to be victims.

It is not fair that any human being should live in fear or insecurity either at home, workplace or anywhere in the world. Because tomorrow it could be our children, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, neighbours or the person next to you.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence live it in silence without anyone noticing, not even their own families. I would never want my children, nor any woman or human being to live this experience because it is not fair and no one deserves it.

My thanks from the bottom of my heart to the amazing and wonderful staff dedicated to providing help and support to the mothers and children, to all of the victims of domestic violence in Donegal. There really are no words to express my gratitude for your wonderful work with the victims and survivors of domestic violence.

How sad it is to start day after day hiding tears of sadness with pain and fear, under the falling water in the shower. 

Living life in fear and suffering in silence with fear of telling someone about the cruelty and trauma that you are living and going through.

Never imagined that I would go through this horrible experience that marked my life as a woman and a mother. A terrible experience that I would not wish on any woman to go through.

Every day you don’t really know what could happen to your life, living in anguish without knowing what you to expect, and at the same time realising that maybe you could lose your life without anyone knowing what you were living through in silence.

Obscure life of fear, pain and silence where you have nowhere to go with the most valuable thing you have in life. Where the only option you have is to continue living the nightmare that is traumatising you more and more every day and where you really do not find yourself living a safe life and you just keep on hiding the sadness, anguish, fear, in the silence.

No one can imagine the traumatic impact that domestic violence has on a woman’s life, and what a mother has to go through keeping her children under such a roof because she has nowhere else to go, because she is a foreigner. Trying to maintain a family, doing the best for them because they are the most valuable, before anything else. It is unbelievable what a mother goes through and does to protect her children. Ignoring all the pain, fear, sadness and trauma you are going through and the damage it has caused in your life.

Darkness with fear and tears behind the door, where your heart does not stop beating fast and feeling the body trembling with fear and without having anywhere to go without knowing what to do. 

Only with rosaries in my hand or in my pocket, praying and asking God for my life and begging him to help me in my despair.

Out of that horrible nightmare, it is the greatest desire to go out in search of hope, help, to see the light without having my rights violated.

Confidence, that little by little you lose, without realising who you are. Where in the corners of darkness, lonely sadness, fear, anguish, confusion and tears, I try to vent in silence, not knowing what awaits the next day, or not knowing if you will still be alive.

Explosive aggression, unexpected behaviour left me in a state of shock when I felt the pressure of his hands on my neck strangling me.

Scared seeing his red angry face. Pressing me hard and feeling my heart beat faster, and my body tremble with fear.

Where the only thing that went through my mind were my beloved children and not knowing if I will continue to see your children grow up.

Trapped, not knowing what to do in the midst of silence, fear and cruelty.

Given to understand that this is what I deserve and need, because it is my fault. Never imagined that I would go through this horrible experience that marked my life as a woman and a mother.

Mirrors that sadden and depress when you see bruises on your body that you hide between clothes, scarf, makeup and dark sunglasses.

Holding back the tears in front of my children and continuing to pretend to be a happy family in society, when in reality you cannot believe what you are living and going through.

Explosive behaviour that lashes out, lashing out at whatever is in its path, and humiliating with bad words, besieging me, harassing, cornered when you are alone and behind closed doors.

When you are in that situation you do not recognise that you are being used and manipulated, and without realising this – you see it as normal.

You are not allowed to use a credit card or access bank accounts. Your name is not allowed on property documents “because it is very complicated”.

You are not allowed to be registered as an employee or say that you work for him.

They want to have information about your personal bank account.

 

Terrible traumatic experience in life that every day I try to overcome among counsellors and supporters who give their best to help overcome this unexpected horrible experience.

Experience of abuse and violence that I would never want my children to go through, nor any woman, mother or human being.

Inexplicable situation that impacts and affects physical and mental health. Not knowing that the doctor is the help you need to break the silence and get out of the madness of despair you are living.

Offences of acts that you have to accept, for not having a place to go with your children or to go to family to seek help because of how far away they are.

Centres, which I didn’t know where they were or that they even exist, that offer help to victims regardless of language barriers, race or skin color.

Desperation and fear of being in another country with your children lead you to ask for help before you lose your life in silence.

When you finally find the door of greater hope, to have a place to go with your children who are the most valuable thing you have in life and who accept you as you are and value you. They accept you as you are, they value you as a woman, a mother and a human being, giving you the greatest support you need.

I never sought help from the authorities or filed a complaint out of fear. Fear leads you to live in silence and not to tell anyone the terrible and traumatic truth that you are going through. This experience that I never imagined living through in Ireland, which unfortunately traumatised and marked my life forever and where the only choice I had was to continue living a dignified life with my children or I would lose my life without anyone knowing the truth.

I can’t say enough about the wonderful and great staff at the women’s shelter and the support centre for victim.

You can never imagine being inside the courtroom with the person who caused so much trauma in your life and it is hard to understand why they hurt you so much.