I was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by my partner for 14 years. I felt unable to speak out or leave my relationship as I had two children and she said that services would not believe I was a victim and that I will end up embarrassed and that she would get custody of the children no matter what as she is their mother. I believed this and felt I needed to stay so at least I would be around to protect the children and make sure that they went to school, had some kind of normality.

She would taunt me in front of people saying I was stronger than her and I could hurt her if I wanted. In private she would tell me that if I ever told anyone about the abuse she would turn it around and say it was me who had been violent. She threatened that I would never see my children again.

She would force me to use sex toys and would threaten me with violence if I didn’t use them on myself too. She would also defecate in my work bag, deliberately knock my clean/ironed clothes on the floor or pour toothpaste on my uniform before work – making me late.

She even also turned up at my workplace demanding money and would threaten to make a scene in public area if I didn’t give it to her.

These things were destroying my life. It was even more difficult that I was a man – this shouldn’t be happening to me.

Eventually I found the courage to confide in a friend. He found out about domestic abuse services for me, they helped me break free of the abusive relationship – but only when I was ready. It was really hard; I don’t know how I got through it really. I’m still building my confidence in me and I know it will take time but the main thing for me is that me and my kids are now safe and we can build our lives again.

Dave, 31, Sefton