Women's Stories

Content Warning: These stories include topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault, physical violence, discrimination, etc. They may cause emotional distress or trigger traumas of readers with similar experiences. Please engage in self-care as you read these stories.

“Now I can talk about future without negative associations”

“I was born in 1981 in Turkey. I have got 7 siblings, but I am not in good terms with my siblings and don’t talk to them except my youngest sister. I have been both physically and psychologically abused by my brothers since my childhood. My only ally in the family was my father who passed away when I was 18 years old.

Two months after his funeral, I was forced to marry someone my family chose. My husband was very violent, and he became more aggressive when I got pregnant. He tortured me so that I miscarry. After my son was born we got divorced; I raised my son alone with no support from my ex-husband.

My family didn’t allow me to continue my secondary education. I completed it with distant learning and found a job. I looked after my son and my mother financially while my brothers shamed and humiliated me by saying that “a divorced woman is no different to a prostitute.”

I bore the emotional burden my family heaped onto me for 14 years and eventually had to accept an arranged marriage to end the psychological abuse. I was forced to move to the UK for the marriage. My second husband had behavioural problems and started abusing me emotionally, verbally and psychologically straightaway. I had been attacked physically several times I was thrown out to the street with nothing but my clothes.

I was homeless for 6 months, staying on the streets or hospital lounges. I was on my way to commit suicide when I got the call for the refuge placement.

When we started counselling sessions at Imece, I was very lonely and isolated with nothing familiar in my life. During our sessions, we established a good trusting relationship, which grounded me and gave me confidence to work on my issues. We have worked on my ruminating thoughts on dying and past traumas. My counsellor has contacted my GP with my concerns and they have prescribed me medication to compliment talking therapies.

We still have five more sessions to work on underlaying feelings and thoughts on the nature of my resentment. However, I have already shown improvement and now can talk about future without negative associations.”

“I realised that I wasn’t the only one and it is possible to survive on my own despite all.”

“The number of tasks I am supposed to carry out feels so impossible. I am on strong painkillers and antidepressants. Always tearful and feeling so lonely and scared. I have never got involved with any finance related matters yet alone making any applications as my husband was in charge of everything. He was working part time. I had no idea how much he was earning, how the rent and bills were paid, what government support he was receiving. Everything was on his name. I was invisible on the papers. For weeks following separation, I haven’t done anything, had no money and was constantly receiving letters that I did not understand and was terrified of losing my home the custody of my children.

I was supported tremendously at Imece. I had a patient and warm-hearted approach from my advisor. She made me feel at ease straightaway. I realised that I wasn’t the only one and it is possible to survive on my own despite all. She explained all the options I have, the steps I need to take and most importantly the support I would get from Imece. So, with support from my advisor, I managed to apply for Universal Credit, and council tax reduction, changed the child benefit and child tax credits to my name. I started counselling and now I feel I am a survivor; now I am looking forward to a lot more to manage on my own.”