My husband has always had a strong control streak. He made me give up work and I wasn’t even allowed to go shopping on my own. And yes, he has beaten me too. He nearly strangled me five times, and once he beat me so badly I almost lost consciousness. But I probably wouldn’t have left him if it hadn’t been for the rapes …

“He wanted my nine-year-old to be awake and to watch.”  

Name: Lucille
Age: 46

There was a man in our neighbourhood who was really popular with all the children. He used to invite them round, he played with them, and he let them play games on his computer. He had four computers in a small apartment. One day he invited me round too, to play Nintendo Wii. I thought it was fun, just like my girls, at least while I was conscious.

It turned out he had drugged both me and my five-year-old daughter. Then he raped all three of us. My nine-year-old was awake. He wanted her to watch. He filmed everything that happened, and was going to put the film out on the internet. The police found the film when they raided the house. My nine-year-old had to testify in court.

It’s been a horrible experience, but the worst thing was that I got no support from my husband. On the contrary, he blamed it all on me, and said it was all my fault. When the story got out at my daughter’s school, and her class mates said she’d been a willing party – then I called the women’s shelters’ hotline. We’ve been here for a week now. 

I’ve lost everything, but I still feel free.

The only thing I brought with me from home was a bag of dirty washing. Here we’ve been given clothes and other things we need. That suits me. I don’t want to take anything from my old life with me. 
I’ve lost everything, but I still feel free. This is a new start. The girls are in therapy and getting the help they need. I’m going to start working again and buy a new house.  

My husband knows I’m here. I don’t think I’m  scared of him, but I’ve realised that I don’t know him, even though we’ve been together for ten years. I don’t know what he’s capable of doing. But no man is ever going to control me or my children from now on. I don’t feel any hate. I just want to be alone. I’m going to come out of this a stronger person.”