Date: April 3, 2023
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Understanding and getting out of an abusive relationship

“Being at Safe Haven Halfway Home allows me to believe in myself and in my dreams.”

My name is Lucy and I am 28 years old. I am a mother of three children, two boys and one girl. I came to Safe Haven Halfway Home as I was homeless and constantly kicked out of the house. I have also experienced psychological and verbal violence from my partner.

I had a challenging and chaotic childhood. I have been homeless since I was young. My grandmother raised me as my mother was young and an alcoholic. When my grandmother died, I began to live with my mother. In the eyes of my mother, I was simply a means for her to earn money rather than her actual daughter; I was made to work since a very young age. I did not feel any maternal attachment to her, because she made me understand that I was nothing but a mistake in her life. She was constantly putting my life at risk while living with her different partners. She made me do all kinds of work so that she could buy alcohol. At the age of eight, I was transferred to a shelter. They took care of me and I resumed my schooling. A few months passed and I went to stay at a shelter for children.

I spent approximately ten years at the children’s shelter. I was able to continue my schooling path as far as possible. The shelter symbolized a new environment for me and a place where I have been able to discover another definition of love. I was able to relate more to the caring persons there than to my own mother. I met my current living partner there and began a relationship with him when I was a teenager. Nonetheless, he was violent, due to peer influences according to me, and was later sent to the Rehabilitation Youth Centre (RYC). At the age of 19, I left the children shelter to go and live at a friend’s place; I was still being provided with a monthly allowance by the shelter. Yet, after four months, I left due to some technical problems linked to the monthly allowance and went to live with my current partner.

At the beginning of the relationship, my partner was loving and caring, always looking after my comfort. I have been able to complete my O’ Level examinations but after a few months, he began to cheat on me. I was also a victim of domestic violence from my partner, after which I left the house. Nevertheless, I was forced to return back to “my hell”, as I had nowhere else to go. My relationship with my partner had been “on and off” and I soon got pregnant with my first son. He continued to be violent towards and cheated on me on multiple occasions. It seemed strange that I kept returning back to him even after the harm he caused to me, but I realized that he had a certain influence on my personal and working life, and this had been going on for approximately eight years. My partner’s compulsive jealousy even led to my dismissal at work. Nonetheless, I then started a course on child caring while pregnant as one of my dreams is to work or even open a kindergarten in the future.

I have observed that the behaviour of my partner has had a negative impact on my daughter. He always denies being the biological father of the latter, which pushes her to be lonely and reserved to herself, as she feels rejected. My children are the only reason why I am still in touch with my partner today. I believe that despite my issues with my partner, it is important for my children to keep a good relationship with their father for their own growth.

It is now clear in my mind, after eight years of relationship with my partner, that I will not get together with him again. These past years served as lessons for me and my children’s future. Being at Safe Haven Halfway Home allows me to believe in myself and in my dreams. The environment at the shelter is very supportive and helps me to focus more on my objectives, without having any external influences.