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Freedom Programme Success Story

Freedom Programme Success Story

Freedom Programme Success Story

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The Freedom Programme is a 7-8 week group programme that helps women deal with the effects of domestic abuse, and to avoid abusive relationships in the future.

The Freedom Programme will:

  • Help you to understand the beliefs held by abusive men and in doing so recognise the beliefs shared by women.
  • Illustrate the effects of domestic abuse on children and young people
  • Assist women to recognise potential future abusers
  • Help women gain self esteem and confidence to improve their quality of life
  • Introduce women to community resources
If you, or someone you know, is interested in attending the Freedom Programme you can contact us on 01639 894864

“I’d like to start by telling you a little bit about me. I’m a forty year old woman with three children. My husband and I separated after a twelve year relationship and as far as I was concerned my life was over!

I had always considered myself as a strong woman and would have never let anyone mistreat me; especially not the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with. I honestly believed he wasn’t an abusive husband, although I say that I knew deep down that the dynamics in the marriage were all wrong. After we separated I was a total mess emotionally, I felt so weak, alone, vulnerable, a failure and so guilty. I was struggling to accept that my family was now broken. In fact I was broken too.

My friends and family were worried I was heading for a nervous breakdown or worse that I would take my husband back. I wanted all the insecurities to go away I didn’t feel I was strong enough to do this alone, I just wanted to feel normal again!

A friend of mine had attended the Freedom programme previously and urged me to contact Women’s Aid to see if they could help. I phoned the helpline and a worker answered; she was very friendly and made me feel at ease instantly. We arranged a date and time for me to go in and have a chat. My friend came with me. In all honesty it was one of the most daunting things I felt I ever had to do. How could a marriage breakdown make me so weak and vulnerable that I needed to do this? I should have been stronger than this! I never liked asking or receiving any help and I have since learnt this is one of my weaknesses and it’s okay to ask for help and support from time to time. From this meeting it was agreed that the Freedom Programme would be something I would benefit from.

I started the Freedom Programme that same week and instantly felt like I had gained so much support, which I knew I needed to be able to put my life back on track. I walked into the first meeting a very weak, unhappy, lost, embarrassed and emotionally drained person who just believed that my broken marriage was mainly my own doing as I couldn’t keep my husband happy! I even remember saying to the worker that I felt that maybe this programme wasn’t for me as I hadn’t gone through domestic abuse (how wrong was I) by the time the first meeting came to a close I felt that I was learning and understanding that actually I wasn’t ALL to blame and I was a victim of domestic abuse. I knew that by continuing the Freedom Program I would be able to learn the tools I needed to break free from the cycle of domestic abuse.

Throughout the Freedom Program I could see I was growing as a person and a mother. My strength, my self-confidence, my knowledge and my self-esteem were slowly coming back. I was feeling much happier, empowered, liberated and most importantly undefeated. I look forward to the sessions as I have also gained a sense of belonging or being part of something that has made me gain the strength to see that it’s better to be alone than in an abusive marriage, status is no longer an issue for me I’m not embarrassed of being a single mother as I was previously and it’s the programme and the other women on the course that I have to thank for that.

There are nine of us on the Freedom Programme and we are now all very good friends and we offer each other lots of support and advice. We see each other socially and I know this will continue even after the programme ends. Being around other women has given me faith in other women again, something I had lost for many years, I was made to believe that anyone outside of my immediate family were enemies.

I have re built relationships with old friends and family and I now love spending time with them without feeling guilty or guarded, that they would see through the façade that was my life. Guilt was one of the hardest things for me to deal with throughout this process, as I honestly believed I had caused all what we went through as a family.

Towards the end of my marriage I too was a game player, but since being on the Freedom Programme I now know that it’s what we do to survive and I’m slowly beginning to deal with my guilt. I know that if it wasn’t for the knowledge, strength and support I have gained since doing the Freedom programme I would have been back in the abusive marriage.

Some meetings were tougher than others but it was in those meetings I believed I learnt the most. I have belly laughed and also cried during the meetings, but every time I left at the end of the meeting I knew I had gained strength and understanding from it. I felt empowered and supported. I was finally learning to talk and share my problems rather than keep them bottled up and hidden as I had done all my life.

Being on this programme has made me take control of mine and my children’s future, it has made me realise that I can and will bring my children up in a supportive, loving safe environment. Making lots of amazing memories along the way and I can do this without my abusive husband, something I never thought I would be able to do. I’m going to be a positive role model for my children by showing them strength and determination and not to settle for anything less than the love and respect that we deserve. Hopefully my actions will break the cycle and it’s the Freedom Programme that has made me have the strength and self-belief to make it possible.

Now the programme has come to an end I have many mixed emotions, I’m thankful for what I have learnt from taking part. I feel that I’m a much stronger, emotionally stable and happier person because of the tools I now have. I have so much knowledge and understanding of what is an abusive relationship and what is a healthy loving relationship, which will help me in the future. I have made many true friendships that I believe will continue to grow throughout my life. But I am also sad that it’s coming to an end, although I know I’m strong enough to continue to stay the person I am now I also feel that there is still so much more I could learn in order to move forward into the next chapter of my life.

I would urge any woman whether they are in an abusive relationship or not to take part in this programme. I have daughters and I would love that when they are old enough they too can be taught the Freedom Programme as I feel if I had this knowledge before entering into the abusive relationship I would have seen the “red flags” and run!

Being part of the Freedom Programme has not only taught me how to deal with abusive partners and to see the signs, it has also taught me to be an independent strong woman which I am pleased to say that’s what I now feel I am. This really has been a positive life changing experience for me.

To PTAWA, I simply want to say Thank You so much you are amazing team who are outstanding at your jobs.”