Domestic violence victim speaks out about years of abuse
A victim of domestic violence has waived her legal right to anonymity to talk openly about the brutal physical and sexual assaults she endured at the hands of her partner.
Katy, a 36-year-old accountant from Swindon, gave the harrowing account to Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Andy Davies about her relationship with Martin Warden, an IT technician who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for six rapes and one assault last July.
Originally from Sheffield, Katy met Warden in Swindon 12 years ago when they were both working for a manufacturing firm in the town.
They started dating in 2003 but after they moved in together, his bouts of jealousy became violent.
Katy said: “His favourite was to hit me really hard around the back of the head – really hard slaps. Something he used to do on a daily basis was little twisting pinches, almost like Chinese burn pinches on my arms and legs, pretty much whenever he felt like it.”
As her self-esteem gradually eroded, Katy’s perspective on what was happening to her became impaired. So entrenched was she in this violent relationship, she began to see herself as the problem, adopting an approach of ‘if only I tried harder, he wouldn’t be like this’.
On one occasion, she tried to call a domestic abuse charity but, when diverted to a voicemail recommending the police, she put the phone down. She was paranoid that if the police turned up, witnessing her in hysterics and Warden composed, they’d dismiss her as overreacting. She was too ashamed to discuss what was going on with friends and family.
In 2010, however, after Katy moved jobs, the violence escalated yet again and Warden began raping her.
“After I got my new job, he raped me quite violently lots of times,” she said. “ A couple of times I did say to him ‘you raped me’ and he would generally mock me with ‘You raped me! You raped me! I’m sick of hearing that!’... I’d be screaming and crying and he just wouldn’t react.”
It all culminated in a particularly severe assault on the evening on September, 23, 2010, which resulted in him grabbing her by the throat, bashing her head, shoving her on the floor, smothering her nose and mouth and putting his hand around her throat until she passed out.
When Katy regained consciousness she fled from the house and contacted a friend and the police were called. An investigation and prosecution followed and, in July 2011, after Katy gave evidence at his trial via videolink at Swindon Crown Court, Warden was found guilty of six rapes and one assault.
Since then, Katy has tried to commit suicide three times, but with counselling and support from Home Truths, she has begun a slow process of recovery, rebuilding her life and re-establishing old friendships.
She said: “Things do get better, although initially, when you leave, it may seem things have got worse.
“If you just persevere things will get better and you will get your life back on track again.”