Before I meeting with the counsellor at Uomini I was completely isolated. I was struggling with my situation, where my ex-partner was using our child to manipulate my emotions, continually creating a wall of isolation between my family and friends, leaving me feeling terribly vulnerable and lonely.
Prior to my meeting with a counsellor I contacted various organisations and help centres. Regretfully, none of them was able to offer me any practical help or advice. People I have spoken to were showing compassion but they were all lacking practical guidance or counsel. Effectively, wherever and to whoever I have turned for help, I was left with even greater sense of isolation, loneliness, re- victimisation.
Social Services perceived me as a perpetrator and subsequently attempted to shift the entire blame for escalation between me and my ex-partner on me. That, in itself was an act of re-victimizing me. However there was an ongoing inconsistency in their approach towards the matter; social services would advise me to 'forcibly demand' from my ex-partner to allow me to see our child. That of course contributed even more towards my low self-esteem and sense of powerlessness. I was a little of the lost lamb.
I have struggled, throughout the time, to know or to understand as to why I was held responsible for the abuse that I have received from the perpetrator - my ex-partner. I live in Tower Hamlet area. It does seem to me that there is still a large misconception and perhaps stigma attached to who 'can be' a victim of domestic violence.
It is assumed that only women can become victims of such an abuse and men are 'always' the perpetrators. There was nobody there to extend a hand and actively support me. I came to know the counselling service at Uomini via Respect, which is an organisation dealing with victims of domestic violence.
My personal therapy commenced and is still ongoing. Initially I was seen twice each week, eventually that was reduced to a weekly single session. On some occasions, I would still attend twice a week, if necessary for my therapeutic progress. From the start the counsellor would listen to me very attentively and gradually I began to learn NOT to feel guilty for any of these abusive incidents.
The counsellor helped me to understand and realise that in fact it was me, who was a victim of abuse and that I was never the perpetrator. He has guided me towards understanding the importance of acknowledging and accepting that I did not have to feel guilty nor was I to be blamed for any of these abusive accounts. The service continues on assisting me also with my interactions with social services.
I know that I am in much better place today, as compare to where I was at the commencement of the therapy. I am slowly beginning rebuilding my life and my social relations with family and friends. I have now built stronger self-esteem, robustness and internal fortification, which guards me against her (the perpetrator/ex-partner) coercive control and attempts to continue with abuse.
The counsellor couldn't stop her (perpetrator) from abusing me, but he has helped me to develop personal skills and understanding how to deal with this and any other form of abuse. My ongoing therapy with the counsellor helped me to understand that I have been a victim of abuse in my previous relationships.
Without the professional counselling help, his devoted and limitless willingness to help me I would have, by now gave up on myself, my child and certainly my life. Through working with the counsellor I came to realisation and understanding as to why would someone abuse others.
I now recognize that many perpetrators will engage in abusing others without any particular reason; while some others might have different reasons each time. I now understand and feel within myself that I was not in the wrong. The counsellor that I had at Uomini is one of a very few people that I trust to open up on the issues of the pattern of domestic abuse. Uomini was the only practical and effective help that I have received. From all the organisations and help points that I have approached over the time, Uomini were the only organisation that reached out to me and provided help and assistance, which I needed.
I owe the counsellor my freedom, my life and I am eternally grateful for everything he has done and continue on doing. There is very limited amount of people and practitioners like the counsellor that I was able to work with, and we certainly need many more of them. We definitely need more people and organisations like Uomini.