Warning: article contains graphic images
A survivor of domestic violence in the U.K. is sharing her story, along with photos of the injuries she sustained, in the hopes it will encourage others in a similar situation to step forward.
West Midlands police said Lynn Hart suffered extensive bruising across her face and body following a “vicious beating” on May 5 at the hands of her boyfriend. The beating was so severe it left the 53-year-old’s eyes swollen shut for days, said police in a statement.
The Final Straw
The assault took place when Hart’s boyfriend David Harrison returned to their Dudley apartment after buying alcohol at a store.
Police said he punched Hart repeatedly in the face, and used a TV speaker to beat her. Harrison then stomped and spit on her while she was on the ground.
“I genuinely thought he was going to kill me,” she said. “He just kept punching me in the face and then picked up the TV speaker and used that to hit me. I don’t remember how I got out of the flat … it’s all a blur.
“I went to my son’s house where he called the ambulance and police. I love David, that’s why I stayed with him through the beatings, in the hope he’d change … but I knew my life was in danger if I stayed with him and enough was enough,” Hart said.
The violent attack was one of many Hart said she had endured throughout the course of three-year relationship.
Police arrested Harrison and on Sept. 3, the 52-year-old was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to the assault.
Since the assault, Hart has decided to step forward to tell her story and share graphic images of her injuries, hoping to inspire other victims to break their silence.
“There might be thousands of people in the West Midlands in the position I was in, torn between their love for a partner but every day scared they could be assaulted for no reason, just a stray look or word. Or even no reason at all.
“What I’d say is get help. It’s unlikely their abusive partner will suddenly just change so speak to support groups like Women’s Aid and speak to the police. They can help you escape violent situations and come out the other side.
“I know how difficult breaking away can be but I truly feel that if I’d have stayed with David any longer I would have ended up dead,” Hart added.
Hart said at the beginning of their relationship, everything was great, but then gradually Harrison started to abuse her which got worse when he drank alcohol.
“We moved in together about six months after meeting and at first everything was great. But he was a heavy drinker and slowly things started going wrong. First it was verbal abuse, putting me down and telling me things like ‘your family don’t love you, only I love you.’
“But then he started with the physical attacks … and they got worse over time. I would put on extra make-up and come up with excuses for anyone who saw through the concealer.
She said she stayed with him because she “wanted him to change.”
“I loved him and wanted him to change … and each time he’d apologize and tell me it would never happen again. But I also thought there’s no point reporting it to the police as it would be my word against his, I wouldn’t be believed, and he’d then beat me even more. But that proved to be wrong and the police had enough to convict him.
“Looking back I should have got the police involved earlier but it’s easy to say in hindsight. They supported me from the moment I reported it, believed in me—that was important—and guided me through the court process.”
Other Victims Urged to Step Forward
West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Catherine Webb-Jones urged other victims of domestic abuse to step forward and get help. “Lynn’s appeal comes from the heart: victims of abuse need to find the courage to seek support … don’t suffer alone and don’t tolerate abuse,” she said.
“Lynn is a survivor and others victims can take comfort and seek their own solace from the courage she has shown,” she said, adding that the department will try to protect vulnerable people from further harm and “identify the triggers of the abuse.”
“Via referrals to support groups and charities such as Women’s Aid, we can support victims to take action to prevent further harm, and via offender interventions will address the causes of domestic abuse in the hope of changing their behavior,” Webb-Jones added, in the statement.