I met my ex-boyfriend online when I was thirteen. He was sixteen and always complimenting me.

We became a couple; he said he loved me.

Six months later, I broke up with him. I didn’t think it was a big deal; we’d never met face to face.

He was furious. He said I’d ruined his life and started texting me abuse.

I’d been bullied at school by boys who said the same things, so it didn’t strike me as a big deal.

Meeting up

He calmed down and we arranged to meet properly.

He was shy and polite – so after that he would come and stay for the weekend with my parents, and I went to stay with him.

He seemed perfect: charming, and always bringing presents.

But between visits he changed. He’d lose his temper, or talk about how ugly girls looked if they didn’t dress in a revealing way, then call me a slut for following his instructions.


He stashed fifty boxes of paracetamol, threatening to overdose. He’d show them to me but say if I told anyone he’d do it immediately.

I would stay up all night whilst he repeatedly hung up the phone, saying he was on a building ready to jump.

I was too exhausted to go to school; he said there was no point anyway because I was stupid.

I said I wanted to go to university. He said he couldn’t believe I would do that instead of spending time with him.

Calling the police

I first called the police in March 2013. He’d been shouting for everyone in the city centre to look at me because I was a “slag”.

He threatened that he and his friends would stab me, and he described fantasies about luring me to his house and killing me, as he’d seen a TV character do.

The police officers really helped me, because they told me that what he was doing was abuse.

It had never occurred to me before.

Recognising abuse

He was my first boyfriend; I think it’s often the case that young people and teenagers don’t have the experience of healthy relationships to know that what’s happening isn’t normal.

It’s so easy just to think, “all couples argue” – especially when someone is telling you that you provoked them. Once they start wearing down your self-esteem and isolating you, it spirals to a point where you can’t see a way out.