Sandra had experienced and witnessed domestic abuse from a very early age. She is the youngest of a family of 5 and the daughter to the perpetrator; the other children were his step-children. Her father misused drugs and would become extremely violent when under the influence. She watched as her father physically and emotionally abused her mother, half- brother and half-sister. On one occasion Sandra stopped her brother from drowning in his own bath as his father had punched his face so hard that he was knocked out for nearly three hours.

At age 14 Sandra met Joe, a 23 year old. He promised her the world, that they would be together, that she could depend on him always. Sandra became pregnant at age 15 and lost her baby due to constant beating.

Sandra had been put into care, but had decided to start her journey of recovery. She had started to attend the freedom programme and was engaging in education. Sandra was helped to better understand domestic abuse and its impact. Her guilt for failing him turned into anger and guilt for not stopping, for once believing that she could change him. Sandra learned that violence is a choice made because of a desire to overpower and control the weak and vulnerable.

She learned what she should expect of a healthy relationship and she learned to respect and love herself again. Sandra recognised she was never a child, or a teenager, but now she is now a fully grown human being with the knowledge of her right to exist and the strength to make the pain and suffering worth its weight in her pursuit of happiness.

Sandra is now 17. She is attending college and has moved into independent lodgings. She is currently trying to pursue something which was taken from her. Her dreams.



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