‘My husband told everyone I was a prostitute’ – mum speaks out on domestic abuse

A mum has spoken of the domestic abuse she endured for more than a decade – including her husband spreading vile claims that she was a prostitute.

Sharmin, whose name has been changed for her protection, suffered "constant surveillance and beatings" for 11 years before she found the courage to walk away.

She told BirminghamLive her husband needed to know her location at every minute and even spread lies about her being a sex worker. Her depression and anxiety were so bad she barely left her home.

She said: "He would call me a prostitute and tell people stories. I was 24 hours under his observation. He would find out things, where I’d been, where I was, and wanted constant information about me. He didn’t like me mixing with people.

“It started very early in the relationship. Due to my Asian background, my parents kept saying: ‘Keep trying maybe one day he will change'.

"I couldn’t open up to them. As soon as [he got] a passport and residency [his] attitude started to change. Brought up in the UK, my thinking process was open rather than someone having to control me all the time."

“About five or six years into my relationship, I realised I was getting depressed. There were times he wouldn’t allow me to speak to my family.

"That was the darkest time, not sleeping for eight hours. I sat in the bathroom and cried because I had no-one to speak to.

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“Being physically abused as a woman breaks you down completely. Certain men out there don’t want anything more than just a physical relationship and then treat you like a slave."

Sharmin has now escaped from the terror of her husband's physical violence. But he said he was still emotionally targeting her by spreading lies.

She said: “My turning point was my child. I never wanted my child to grow up in the same situation and see the emotional physical abuse happening to me.

"I have now separated from my husband. He still tries to control me, I am still going through mental abuse. I’ve learned not to let it overwhelm me and carry on with my life."

Names have been changed to protect the identities of victims of abuse.

Women who are victims of domestic can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, men can call the Men's Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244

In an emergency, please call 999.

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