‘I’ve hidden for long enough’ - Domestic abuse survivor describes ordeal as ‘hell on earth’
- Credit: Archant
With her confidence shattered, Christina Day was left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety after years of domestic abuse - but says she was saved by a Norfolk charity.
The mum-of-two, from Dereham, suffered at the hands of her abuser for years, but it was through the support of the Daisy Programme, a domestic abuse charity based in Watton, that she regained her strength.
Now, she wants to use her experience to help others.
She said: "He abused me in every way possible and tried to take my life. As a result of the abuse I now have to live with PTSD and anxiety. Luckily I can manage it quite well now, but I wasn't in a good place.
"Getting out of domestic abuse is hell on earth but the abuse continues even after you have left. Those memories and feelings are still there. For me the most important part was my recovery after."
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Ms Day spoke at the Daisy Programme's headquarters on Wednesday as the charity was visited by Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green, who came to listen to its 'choir for hope' group, which is made up of both domestic abuse survivors and supporters of the charity.
"Daisy gave me hope and I hope the commissioner can see what a difference it can make in people's lives," said Ms Day.
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"But this is only the tip of the iceberg of what they do. I used to be a shell of who I am today but Daisy gave me years of counselling. I was part of the choir and I went through their confidence course and freedom programme.
"I have been through everything it has to offer and I can honestly say that by taking that support on board and embracing it saved me. It's given me back my confidence and I have hidden for long enough."
Now a volunteer at the charity and freedom programme facilitator, teaching domestic abuse survivors how to look out for warning signs, Ms Day is using her experiences to help others and urges anyone who may be suffering to seek support.
Ms Day said: "They manipulate and lie which is why it's important to recognise these behaviours, so I deliver a 10-week programme which educates people on how perpetrators work.
"There are specific things they do, ways they work and it highlights those behaviours. It helps survivors feel like they aren't imaging things, they aren't mad."
The commissioner spoke at the event, thanking the charity for its dedicated work and support across the county, and praising the bravery of survivors.
Speeches were also made by the charity's founder, Leigh Taylor, and other members of the choir, who said it has allowed them to use their voices, which had once been taken away.
The commissioner could be seen singing along with the group, which chooses songs close to their hearts, which included Flying Free and These Boots Are Made for Walking.
Mr Green said: "Hearing these ladies singing songs which mean so much to them and seeing the joy and tears in their eyes was a humbling experience.
"Every survivor of domestic abuse in Norfolk should be able to get the support for years after the relationship has finished.
"We must do all we can to continue to give a voice to the men and women in our county who have been affected by domestic abuse. I am delighted my office continues to support Daisy."
The charity works with clients aged 16 and above, to offer free support through a variety of programmes and courses, including one-to-ones and drop-in support groups for survivors.
For anyone looking for support, visit www.daisyprogramme.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org