My name is Arzu*, and my story is one of strength and transformation, born from the depths of darkness and despair. For years, I endured the unimaginable pain of domestic abuse including sexual, physical and coercive control – a haunting nightmare that seemed to have no end. The weight of panic attacks became unbearable, and I found myself lost in a maze of confusion and fear.
In a heart-wrenching choice, I knew I had to break free from the clutches of my abusive husband, even if it meant leaving behind my precious child. I faced homelessness for five days. How could I provide for my child when I was struggling so intensely myself? The physical pain became unbearable, and in desperation, I sought refuge at a police station—only to be met with indifference and a lack of compassion. Language barriers further isolated me from other essential services, adding to the overwhelming challenge of navigating asylum claims and immigration laws, housing and family court proceedings.
But then, like a ray of light breaking through the storm clouds, Behind Closed Doors entered my life. With open arms and a compassionate heart, they became my lifeline. The only way I can describe my case worker is “My Guardian Angel,” guiding me towards a path of healing and recovery.
Behind Closed Doors helped me discover genuine care and support that I had never known before. Through peer support groups, I found a safe space where I could share my pain and be understood by others who had walked a similar path. I had been diagnosed with PTSD and suffered catatonic panic attacks. Behind Closed Doors helped me access vital medical and mental health support, slowly nurturing my shattered spirit back to life.
In a world where my voice had often been silenced, Behind Closed Doors became my fierce advocate. Together, we faced the daunting task of standing up for my rights and desires, empowering me to communicate my needs with confidence. My case worker encouraged me to be honest and direct with her; she assured me and really made me believe I was no longer on my own. We have a connection where I feel that I can be free with her, I can trust her, and it is not easy for me to trust, she just understood me. It’s like she has a superpower. Her voice is like good music to me, like a singer with beautiful lyrics. She taught me to have no filter. I unlearned the caution instilled by my abuser, recognizing that their intentions were malicious while my case worker was there to protect me. Whenever his voice echoed in my mind, she told me to write “he is a liar” and stick it up where I could see, as a reminder, empowering me to use my voice.
Today, I stand stronger than ever, my gaze fixed on a future filled with hope. I still, at times, need someone there to hold my hand. “Healing is rebuilding,” and the journey is long, but feeling this genuine care and support from Behind Closed Doors gives me the strength to continue.
My ask is if your compassion and kindness today could help to rebuild lives tomorrow?
I am like a phoenix; I have died many times but now I am reborn and rebuilding.
I’ve reclaimed my voice, no longer stifled by the weight of trauma. I was able to open up about what I had been through, I tell my story now to empower others. I speak with other asylum seekers about domestic abuse and educate them. In my country, the concept of domestic abuse doesn’t exist; it is just part of the culture. Understanding and recognising what domestic abuse is and that it is always unacceptable started me on my journey.
I can be a voice for those who don’t have one, and that is now my passion and my calling.
I hope that you can find it in your hearts to help join me – together our voices are louder, and we can make a real difference to others in a similar situation.
The kindness of people like you creates stories like mine – stories of resilience, redemption, and renewed hope. Together, we can be Champions for Change for those who have faced the darkest of storms, embarking on a path of strength and recovery.
A monthly gift isn’t just a donation; it’s a lifeline, a promise that together, we can make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of survivors like me.
Could you become a champion for change and help to change a life like Arzu’s?
*Note to protect identities names have been changed.