Domestic abuse victim encourages people to report abusePublished Thursday, 12th July 2018
A former victim of domestic abuse has spoken openly about the harrowing abuse she suffered in order to encourage others to report it.
Marcia Langton, 54, was married for 18 years, and in that time she suffered both verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her partner. It took her years before she was able to sum up the courage to tell anyone about what was happening to her, and now she is finally getting the help she needed.
This week she talked frankly about what it was like to be in such a relationship as she opened Rotherham’s Safeguarding Awareness Week launch at the Town Hall.
She said: “I suffered from years of abuse, most of it verbal, while living with my husband. He made me fear for my life.
“The final straw was when he physically assaulted me twice punching me in the head, and then I knew I had to get out.”
However, initial attempts to get people to believe her failed, which she believes was a result of her being black. “I felt I was not believed. Because of my skin colour they said they couldn’t see the bruises, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Instead I went to my Jamaican community and finally I was able to access the help I needed from Rotherham Rise. They gave me shelter and after a few weeks I eventually started to trust them and the help since then has been amazing.
“I have had solicitors and barristers and a judge helping me get an injunction against my former husband so he cannot come anywhere near me. And now five years later I am in my own flat and I have my independence and life is so much better than before. I want to tell anyone out there who may be suffering as I was please do come forward and speak to the authorities. The police and council are well equipped at being able to help get you the support you need. I want people to hear my story so they too can feel empowered to stand up to people who may be hurting them. No one needs to put up with this.”
Co-incidentally Marcia’s own mother opened up her home as a sanctuary for women fleeing domestic violence back in the 1970s, before refuges were in place.
“I never thought I would ever be a victim of such abuse,” added Marcia, “But it just shows you it can happen to anyone, whatever your back ground or upbringing.”
Cllr Emma Hoddinott, chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership and Rotherham Council’s Cabinet member for Community Safety added: “Since 2010 Rotherham Council has increased funding to support domestic violence services and we continue to make significant strides in dealing with the challenges that domestic violence poses in our communities. It remains a key priority for the Safer Rotherham Partnership.
“Marcia’s story is both inspiring and a wake-up call, and I would encourage anyone who finds themselves in a similar position to where she was to come forward and talk to the Council, the police, or our voluntary sector partners. There are services in place to help.”
Sue Wynne from Rotherham Rise added: “Anyone who’s been affected by domestic abuse or violence needs to know they are not alone and that action is being taken. It is a sensitive topic but it is important to have these conversations, and raise awareness. We are here to listen and to help.”
Anyone wanting to report domestic abuse or violence can call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. Or they can call victim support or organisations such as Rotherham Rise, who offer support for victims and survivors of abuse.