For as long as Jenny can remember her life has been shrouded with violence.
“Growing up, violence was the norm”, says Jenny “I was told you should accept violence – that’s just how we dealt with things. My parents would argue and party through the night, even when I had school the next day, and the police turning up was something that happened regularly”.
For Jenny, this wasn’t the life she wanted, with ambitions of becoming a PE teacher when she was older. Although this wasn’t to be, at just 15 years old Jenny began her first relationship with someone older than her, which saw the beginnings of a pattern of controlling, manipulating, violent and abusive relationships.
Jenny is now in her early 30s and has three children. Her two eldest children arrived during her second relationship which started when she was 18 years old. The relationship did not work out as the father of the children was an alcoholic, ten years older than her, controlling and abusive. Unbeknown to Jenny, her next serious relationship would be worse than she could ever have imagined.
With low self-esteem, Jenny met her next partner who she moved in with, with her two children at the time. The relationship was fractured, and during their eight years together, Jenny experienced violence so severe that she ‘had to stitch up her own eyebrow’, ‘was stabbed’, ‘thrown out of a moving car’, ‘suffered a broken nose’ and ‘had every object imaginable thrown at her’, even when she was pregnant with her youngest child.
“I had so much guilt for my babies, I was utterly broken after that… I was mentally under his power and I found myself suicidal”, says Jenny.
After going to the police several times, they finally referred Jenny to a refuge to start her steps towards recovery. At this point, Jenny had stopped eating and her hair had begun to fall out due to the trauma she was experiencing, which was resulting in high levels of ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline.
“When I arrived at the refuge, I had only a bag of belongings, but I knew I needed to do something, I had, and still have this fire in my belly”. The refuge that Jenny came to stay at referred her to Positive People and she began her journey to rediscovery.
“I’ve had to rewire myself, and without the support of Positive People I wouldn’t have come this far. The Positive People project has changed my life, and after attending the confidence course I have regained my strength and self esteem and made some great friends”, says Jenny.
Jenny has been able to volunteer and attend courses in mentoring as Positive People have been able to fund childcare for her. Jenny is now a Level 2 Accredited Mentor and is working through the Level 2 Award in Mental Health Awareness.
With Positive Peoples support, Jenny was given the opportunity to attend a 12 week programme that will enable her to mentor two women for up to a year, which will be invaluable experience, allowing Jenny to follow her dreams to support and inspire other vulnerable women to speak out, rebuild and create a better future for themselves.
Positive People believe Jenny is a true vision of strength, despite adversity, and wish her all the success for the future!