From a young age, Lal always wanted a typical 2.4 nuclear family, not even realising that she was being abused by the man claiming to love her. Once the realisation hit, her life crumbled and her hopes and dreams turned to dust. Lal had to run away in the night with her small children to a women's refuge where she spent over a year before finding a place to call home. The story follows the relationships with the other women and children, the ups and downs of living in a house of displaced characters with severe issues. When put into one of the largest refuges with a dozen other families, she is forced to learn to fit in pretty quickly. Lal’s journey in the house is about barely clinching onto sanity, battling her own thoughts, and coming out the other side to become a strong survivor. Whilst domestic abuse and neglect of women in society is the heart of the story, it is not just about that. It is about being in your darkest hour and somehow finding some light and a sense of hope. Abuse is still a taboo subject and is not talked about enough, whether through fear of judgement, or because it is too painful to talk about. For people who have never experienced or cannot understand domestic abuse issues, this true true-life memoir will help to open people’s minds and bring about those much needed conversations.
I never saw myself as a victim, and for a very long time I couldn't even acknowledge that I had been abused. For me, it wasn't living through abuse that made me a survivor, it was getting free from the abuse. That was the hardest struggle I had to face as part of my journey.
I had counselling, support groups and empowerment programs, as well as classes in self-esteem and living beyond abuse, I've done them all.
My biggest motivator to move on in my life was knowing that I would one day write a book about my experiences. I thought to myself, 'I've been through this experience and I need to tell it, to help other people, or else, what was the point?'
I was always sure that I could use my story to help women like me, that has always given me the courage to write it.
It has been a very long task, cathartic yes, but difficult to write. I never appreciated how hard it would be to put on paper my thoughts, how my mind would process my feelings like they were new, see my inner monologue in black and white has been profoundly upsetting. I set this goal and I have achieved it.
One of my biggest nudges came in 2017 when I won the 'Bizmums Inspirational Mum of the year Award' for being a positive role model to other women. The lady next to me at the awards ceremony knew I was writing my story and gazed over and simply said, 'you need to finish your book'. My progress went from tortoise to hare from then on, and now I have the book. I hope this story can help other people who have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic abuse, both women and men.
I am a strong and happy woman with an amazing family life, I've achieved so many things, from travelling to getting an honours degree , and the hardest so far - becoming an author. I hope this true story instigates conversations and helps women and men realise that there is life after abuse, and a life worth living and loving.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please reach out.
Women's Aid Helpline 0808 2000 247
The Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327
The Mix (under 25's) 0808 808 4994
LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428
National Stalking Helpline 0808 802 030