Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Wigan Safeguarding or Colluding?

Where to begin:

My marriage had been abusive almost from the day he got the ring on my finger. I was so used to the slaps and punches it had become the norm. I was abused not only by my partner but also his mother and sister.

One day I had been arguing with my husband. I was pregnant with my second child my eldest was then three. We were arguing because I wanted to have our own house. I did not want to continue living with his mother and sister. He pushed me across the bedroom into the wall. I picked up my son and walked away from him down the stairs. His mother and sister were waiting there. They began screaming in my face, telling me I was mentally ill if I thought I was going to leave.

I shouted back at them to leave me alone I had my son in my arms and he was becoming distressed.

My husband then came downstairs. His mother was shouting hit her hit her. He began kicking me in the legs and his mother grabbed my son away from me.

I went into the kitchen his mother was shouting, am going to tell everybody that your mentally ill, your going nowhere. My husband at this point was slapping me on the head.

I was desperate to get out of the house, I picked up a knife and drove it through my leg. I knew they would have to ring for an ambulance and I would be able to tell.

Unfortunately when the ambulance got there, my mother in law being her kind considerate self, insisted that she came with me in the ambulance.

I was pleading with the ambulance driver with my eyes, begging please don’t let her.
But they did.

All the time we were at the hospital she never left my bedside. I gave up.

When we returned home I went upstairs to the bedroom and practically lived there for the rest of my pregnancy.

When my second son was born I was only in hospital for the usual 24 hours it was a straight forward birth.

When I got home I was told it was my responsibility to do the cleaning. My mother in law told me to keep that brat quiet and don’t bring him near her.

And that’s how I spent my year. Saying nothing cleaning keeping my youngest son as quiet as possible.

Then my mum came for a visit, we lived a good distance away although we spoke regularly on the phone. I hadn’t said anything but she kept asking if everything was ok maybe she had a sixth sense . Oh how I wanted to tell her.

When she arrived she insisted that she take me and the children out with her for a meal.
My mother in law flapped about saying to leave my eldest child with her, but my mum wasn’t having any of it.

We went through the door got into the car and drove away she asked me straight away, whats happening. My eldest son shouted from the back of the car she is mentally ill.
I was beginning to believe that I was, so told mum I had depression.

She dropped me back at home after and left. She rang three times on the way home asking did I want her to come get me and take me home. I insisted I was ok.

That night I got another battering for not listening to his mother when she told me to leave my eldest son with her.

The following morning they all left to go to work. I couldn’t take anymore maybe I was mentally ill, but I knew I couldn’t stay any longer.

I rang my mum, I told, I cried, I felt the weight lift off me. Within hours I was at mums with my children.

My husband wanted me to give him the eldest and the brat could stay with me. I refused I went to court to gain residency for the children. I gave all my evidence in but the judge decided to give my husband contact every other w/end and for half the school holidays. I was devastated. My 2 year old had never been separated from me.

So that’s the background here’s where the victim blaming comes in

When the contact first started my two year old came back extremely withdrawn. He wouldn’t let me close any doors.

I had started him potty training as he was starting nursery he had been doing well. Now he wouldn’t go into the bathroom. If I said no to him he would burst into tears. I put it down to him being unsettled after being away from me.

When I asked my older son why he was so afraid of the bathroom he said, because he has been naughty for daddy and grandma. I asked what did he mean, he said that they locked him in the downstairs toilet and put the hoover under the door handle so he couldn’t get out.

I rang their dad straight away, he said its discipline he’s bad. When he next came to collect the children I told him if he locked him up again I would report it to Social Services. I got a slap in the face and he screamed they wouldn’t fucking believe you your mental.

Last month he had the children for two weeks. When they returned home I noticed my youngest son had a bruise across his stomach and on to his hip. I asked his brother what had happened, he said he was naughty so dad hit him in the car. I was devastated I rang the solicitor to see if she could get the case back in court. Apparently to be entitled to legal aid I would have to report to social services.

I rang the duty social work team and told them exactly what had happened. They sent a social worker round.

She said she had rang my husband who told her that he had smacked him and locked him in the toilet and that it was discipline. She said that she was more concerned because my eldest son had been late for school four times.

She took my eldest son upstairs to my bedroom to talk to him. She came down and said he wants to spend more time with his dad.

I told her I was worried about my youngest son going to his dad. She said that wasn’t her concern, there was a court order in place so I would have to send them their was nothing I could do about it. She said that they were going to have a strategy group meeting and she would let me know the results. I asked her what support she could give me and she said well what do you want me to do and left.

I just hoped and prayed that this had scared their dad into not doing anything more. I was frightened for my own safety when he came to collect the kids because I had told.

My mum did the handover and got him to drop the kids at hers when they were returned. I was such a mess.

Today I got a phone call from the social worker. Apparently they had had the strategy meeting. They had decided that they were not concerned about the abuse my son had suffered. They were more concerned about my eldest being late for school. However this transpired to be late for breakfast club which isn’t compulsory.

They were also concerned that when we walked back from school my eldest ran on ahead of me. Which he does we often race home especially when its raining, he never crosses the road until I catch up.

She explained that she was worried that my 8 year old plays in the cul de sac at the front of the house, and that he is allowed to go to his friends house 8 doors away on his own.

So now she was concerned about my ability to cope.

I asked her how she knew about our racing home, or that he went to his friends, or that he played outside. She said she had been told. My ex can be very manipulative and she had been taken in hook line and sinker.

So will I report to social services if my son has injuries again?
Will I contact the police?

My ex has got them in the palm of his hand. Along with his very concerned mother. Next time I will just refuse the contact let them take me to court, I don’t care if I breach the court order. Someone has to keep my son safe. But according to Wigan safeguarding that's just a secondary concern.


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