Warning: This article contains images some people may find upsetting.
A U.K. woman who survived domestic abuse said she wants people to see the injuries she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend, to encourage to those in similar situations to speak up and get help.
Lynn Hart of Dudley said she feared for her life when her boyfriend of three years flew into a rage on the morning of May 5.
The attack happened when boyfriend David Harrison came back to their Summit Place, Lower Gornal apartment from a convenience store after purchasing alcohol.
Police said Harrison punched Hart in the face multiple times before beating her with a TV sound bar speaker. He then stomped and spat on the 53-year-old woman while she lay on the ground.
“I genuinely thought he was going to kill me, he just kept punching me in the face and then picked up the TV speaker and used that to hit me,” Hart said.
The attack left Hart with extensive bruising across her face and body and with her eyes swollen shut, West Midlands Police said in a statement.
Police charged Harrison in connection with the assault and the 52-year-old man was sentenced on Sept. 3 to seven years in jail.
Hart said the May 5 attack was the last straw after putting up with physical abuse by Harrison throughout the course of their three year relationship, saying she feared for her life if she didn’t leave him and report the abuse.
“I love David, that’s why I stayed with him through the beatings, in the hope he’d change … but I knew my life was in danger if I stayed with him and enough was enough,” she said, according to the statement.
Now, Hart is sharing her story to urge others in a similar situation to speak up and get help from police and support groups.
“There might be thousands of people in the West Midlands in the position I was in, torn between their love for a partner but every day scared they could be assaulted for no reason, just a stray look or word. Or even no reason at all,” Hart said. “What I’d say is get help. It’s unlikely their abusive partner will suddenly just change—so speak to support groups like Women’s Aid and speak to the police. They can help you escape violent situations and come out the other side,” she added.
“I know how difficult breaking away can be but I truly feel that if I’d have stayed with David any longer I would have ended up dead.”
Intimate Partner Violence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), intimate partner violence affects millions of people in the United States each year. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as violence or aggression that occurs in a close relationship, usually perpetrated by current and former spouses and dating partners.
“IPV can vary in frequency and severity and occurs on a continuum, ranging from one episode that might or might not have lasting impact, to chronic and severe episodes over a period of years,” the agency said.
The behavior can fall into four categories, which are physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression.
According to data from CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 4 adult women and approximately 1 in 7 adult men reported having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
The agency said the IPV considers this “a significant public health issue that has considerable societal costs.”