Tamara* and her husband settled in the UK having moved here from Africa. When her husband became ill, her situation took a turn for the worse. This is her story...
"I was living in Africa, and my husband and I came over in 2007. We came over to the UK to start a new life. For the first four years things were good and we settled down. One day my husband came home and told me that he had tuberculosis. And from then he was a changed man. He stopped work and asked me to also stop working to take care of him. He became very controlling, not letting me have any money and telling me not to make friends and saying bad things about people. The only times that I left the house was to drop off and pick up my daughter from school. He blamed me for everything. My husband used to get very angry and smash things in our house. He started ringing the police telling them that he was going to destroy me. I think the worst thing was that he took away my confidence in myself by verbally abusing me. He said lots of negative things to me over and over again and that wore me down. I became very afraid of him. I was his full-time carer but he didn’t appreciate me.
Things became so bad that I knew that I had to leave. I had to leave my daughter in the house, but I had no choice. I became street homeless and someone helped me get in touch with NextLink who let me know about the Spring of Hope women’s night shelter in October 2016. I stayed at the shelter for five weeks and Val, the shelter manager provided me with food, money and connected me with other services to move on. Spring of Hope paid for my solicitor’s fees to sort out my home office paperwork, which meant that I could stay in the country. Val is someone I can really open up to, whenever I come to her for help she never says no. Val is still helping me now. The Wild Goose also provided me with food. Val tells me that I will overcome this. I view her like a sister.
After five weeks, I moved into supported housing for women where I live now. I’ve also found work as a nursing assistant which I will start in January 2018. My hope is to move into independent accommodation so that my daughter can join me. I want to forget about what he has done to me. To move on and to forget. I am separated from my husband and will be getting a divorce. I am receiving counselling and Spring of Hope continues to help me."
*Not her real name.