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I was raised to believe police protect us – then I married one

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Three years into our relationship, things began to change for the worse (Picture: Getty Images)

Throwing my body between my then partner and my daughter, Rose* who was nine, I tried not to show how scared I truly was.

That was the moment the rose-tinted glasses I’d be wearing for 16 years fell away.

Suddenly I was all too aware of the toxicity of my relationship and I knew I needed to get away from him to protect myself and my kids.  

My ex and I attended the same secondary school, but as we ran in very different social circles – he was a prefect, while I was quite rebellious and always getting into trouble – we were never particularly close. 

However, that all changed after we became acquainted in the years following school through family and mutual friends. And I admit, it wasn’t long before I had a crush on him.

Unlike people I had previously dated, he was geeky, kind and seemed totally dependable. 

He only proved this further when he gave me the space I needed to grieve after my uncle passed away.

And when my relationship with my mum broke down in my late teens, he was there. He even offered to let me live with him.

Later, I understood that he had used the divide as a means to gain his trust and to get closer to him.  

A relationship began to develop from there and I felt so thankful to have him care for me and make me feel special. I also loved the fact that he was a police officer.

I’d been raised to believe that the police were protective and kind souls, and with him I felt safe and guarded, which is why I never questioned his behaviour.

Things between us moved quickly. From the first date it was full on. We moved in together quickly and had bought a house within two years of meeting despite being so young.  

Still I felt safe. 

But three years into our relationship, things began to change for the worse.

I’d been raised to believe that the police were protective and kind souls, and with him I felt safe and guarded

I fell pregnant, and it was a very difficult time. Suddenly, he became very dismissive, staying out and started having affairs with work colleagues.

This continued after my son Will* was born.

I hoped that would all change once the baby arrived, however, after a traumatic birth where Will had to be resuscitated, my partner became even more dismissive and emotionally distant.

He claimed he couldn’t help with the baby because he was working long shifts at work. His squad later confirmed that this was never the case.

Then, one night, he came home, drunk, and raped me.

When I threatened to call the police he just laughed and said that no one would believe me if I did speak out.

I believed him. And as much as I wanted to run then, I had no one to turn to. I was scared and alone and had no choice but to stay put. 

All I could focus on was the need to protect my newborn baby. I stayed put and tried to pretend his assault on me hadn’t happened. Instead, I put all my energy into raising our son. 

A few years later, I had Rose.

Rose and Will are my world. I would walk through fire to try and keep them both safe.

Around 10 years later, when I was 35, I decided to change careers, moving to a job that would give me opportunities to grow.

This new role meant that we had to make significant changes to how we ran our household. I was now driving to work and while I was working, he didn’t know where I was.

I was also working long shifts and nights – unfortunately that made the abuse worse.

He began to physically abuse my children as a way of getting back at me

Only, it wasn’t me that was suffering, it was my kids.

He began to physically abuse my children as a way of getting back at me. I only found out when Will turned 15 and told me that the abuse became more physical toward him. With Rose, he used coercive control with her food and medication, since she was diagnosed with diabetes.

The worst instance, though, was the night when he attempted to brutally attack Rose. 

I made my decision there and then to leave – it was a sudden realisation and anger that he was never going to change and I had to protect my children.

I packed a bag and in 2016 I left the family home for good. 

I told him I was leaving but didn’t disclose the address, so I could stay safe. But before I had moved into my new place, he managed to find where I was and confronted me.

‘I will always know where you are’, he said. He had used his position in the police to track me.

I tried moving on with my life, and though I managed to get back in contact with friends, he continued to make my life miserable. 

I had a nervous breakdown. I had struggled with my mental health since being diagnosed with complex PTSD and fibromyalgia and couldn’t work for two years.

And then, my mum passed away in 2018. This changed everything. 

She was such a powerful woman and the hardest thing I ever told her was that I’d been raped. She always wanted me to stand up to him. 

After she died I kept hearing her voice: ‘don’t let him get away with this’ – and two months later, I reported the abuse to the police. 

But, it was not a simple process though.

Once again, my ex used his position to make the process as painful as possible for me – even to the point where he tried to prevent the charges being filed. In fact, I believe that the inspector colluded with my ex to protect him. 

I felt totally broken. 



Who to call if you need help

For emotional support you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid, on 0808 2000 247.

If you are in an LGBT relationship you can also call the helpline run by Broken Rainbow and Galop UK, on 0800 9995428.

Male victims can call also the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

I truly never thought I would be free of him and had it not been for my guardian angel (meaning my local domestic abuse support service) introducing me to Refuge and their amazing Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) who supported me, I think I would still be stuck.

With their support, I was able to ensure mine, and my children’s safety. She supported me with all aspects of getting my life back including emotional, financial, practical support, but more importantly she was consistent and genuinely cared. 

My support from Refuge went above and beyond – this included support applying for benefits after my breakdown and through the two trials both my children and I attended.

And now, we are finally free.

Looking back, I realise my belief that because he was a police officer I could trust him was misguided.

Coercive control comes in all shapes and sizes. It can include financial control, love bombing, overbearing behaviours, and severe jealousy that has no warrant. Sadly, on average, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime.

Today, I am a stronger person, and I am dedicated to helping others, ensuring that no one else has to experience what I did.

If you feel that you need to speak up, organisations like Refuge, or your local GP, can offer support and guidance that will help you leave and heal from the trauma. 

And if you take anything from my story, let it be this. You are worthy. You are loved. And you are stronger than you know.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.


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