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Rachel Williams is a survivor, campaigner and SafeLives Pioneer. In 2011, after years of abuse, her ex-partner Darren attempted to murder her. Rachel survived and now devotes her time to helping other victims and survivors, and campaigning for change. Her book, 'The Devil at Home' tells her story.

We're so proud to work alongside Rachel, and to share this extract from her book. This International Women's Day, we're celebrating Rachel and all the brave survivors who speak out and use their voices to create change. 

'I started to wonder if we were just an emotionally charged couple or whether I was experiencing domestic abuse. But I was a strong girl, not some timid wallflower. I wasn’t being controlled or beaten up every day; the incidents were few and far between.

Plus, I knew Darren inside and out – if he was moody I knew he was thinking about his brother, and if he was snappy I knew it was the anxiety talking. It seemed inconceivable that Darren would grow up with domestic violence then go on to become a perpetrator. And he was always so remorseful when he stepped out of line.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what constituted an abuser, but I didn’t imagine it was a man who wrote love notes and sobbed his heart out after losing his temper. I would joke with him that it was like living with two men: Darren was the bad one and Daniel was good.

I guess I felt that if I wanted Daniel I had to put up with Darren from time to time. And I believed I had enough love and strength in me to do that.'

 

You can buy The Devil at Home here.

If you're worried about your relationship, feel scared of your partner or are concerned about a friend, help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge) 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247 – if you're in immediate danger always call 999 and ask for the police.