The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

LISA (not her real name) was 16 when she and her mother fled her abu­sive fa­ther.

“It had gone on through­out my child­hood,” she re­calls. “My fa­ther had tried to break my wrists and would shake my sis­ter and tear up my mum’s clothes. My mum was his ser­vant. It was fright­en­ing. I used to al­ways feel I was walk­ing into a black bub­ble when I walked into the house.”

Things came to a head two years ago when her fa­ther lashed out in rage. “He went to hit me and was scream­ing.” Lisa ran out of the house, at which point her fa­ther phoned her sis­ter “and said he was go­ing to break my bones if he saw me again, and he tore my face out of a fam­ily pho­to­graph”.

Lisa called the po­lice, who took her fa­ther away for ques­tion­ing for a few hours. On his re­turn, Lisa and her mother es­caped through the back door. “We knew we had to leave as things had got too bad. We were ter­ri­fied.”

For the next four months, Lisa slept on friends’ floors un­til one of her sis­ters heard about Jewish Women’s Aid. “Within a cou­ple of days we had met up with them and had been given a room in the refuge.”

De­spite this sanc­tu­ary, Lisa be­came de­pressed and found it hard to cope. “I was hav­ing panic at­tacks and want­ing to hurt my­self. But JWA were amaz­ing. They gave my mum coun­selling and paid for me to go to a coun­sel­lor. They con­tin­ued pay­ing for me long af­ter I left the refuge. They also helped my mum with fi­nances and gave her money to get her started again. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without JWA. It’s thanks to them that I’m still here.”

Lisa and her mother could also con­tinue cel­e­brat­ing the fes­ti­vals while in the refuge — “it was so im­por­tant to us”.

Lisa is now at col­lege study­ing for her A lev­els. Her fa­ther com­mit­ted sui­cide last year.

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