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'Toe-curling' account of coercive control LBC listeners brand 'heartbreaking'
5 May 2022, 15:35 | Updated: 5 May 2022, 19:35
Shelagh Fogarty was left speechless after hearing this caller's disturbing experience of being controlled by her ex-husband.
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LBC listeners were sharing their personal and anecdotal accounts of domestic abuse and coercive control as a court in Virginia, USA hears testimony from Hollywood actress Amber Heard in the defamation trial her ex-husband Johnny Depp has taken against her.
Susan phoned in from Bristol to share her story. She told listeners that she met her ex-husband, who is nine years older than her was "really controlling" from the very start of their relationship, vetting who she met and where she was allowed to go on her own.
"I just became a mother. I didn't go anywhere, I didn't do anything, I wasn't really allowed to have friends. If I did have friends, he would come between those friendships."
Detailing the extent of the coercion, she described how her ex-husband would weaponise their children to make her reconsider leaving the house to see friends or family, adding that "as soon as the children were in bed he would start being really nasty."
The caller went on to tell Shelagh that she got "really brave" when her children went to school and started her own gardening business.
@LBC really good but disturbing stuff on abusive, coercive and controlling behaviour on right now.— Gary Straiton (@ardler67) May 5, 2022
@LBC it was heart breaking listening to the caller ,hope she has found happinesses— Kevin Mcleish (@Melroserentals) May 5, 2022
"He would turn up with an ice cream, and make it out as though he was being nice", she said. "He was spying on you" Shelagh nodded.
The control went ever deeper, the caller explained: "He'd record the mileage on my vehicle and then ask me where I'd been. Then he'd say 'well your mileage doesn't add up'." Shelagh couldn't believe her ears.
"My toes are curling!" She then asked how Susan got herself out of the situation. She explained that she began to stand up for herself "when the children got older", confiding in a male friend.
"It was really hard to admit I had let it get that bad."
She then told listeners that once her husband smelled the aftershave of her friend, he got "really physical", with her son witnessing the abuse.
She went on to explain how her ex-husband threatened to lose his job and tell their children it was mummy's fault if she detailed the full extent of the abuse to the police.
Susan told LBC she went ahead with divorcing her ex, but her children were split in custody hearings – as their father only wanted custody of their son
"They split my children up like they were material possessions", she said, telling Shelagh that her daughter grew up knowing her father "didn't want her".
"It's damaged me for life."
If you are affected by the issues raised above you can contact The Dash Charity on 01753 549865 or Refuge on 020 7395 7700.