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Tom’s Story

Tom grew concerned about his best friend, Alex, after he didn't show up for his birthday party and distanced himself from all his friends. Find out how Tom saved Alex from an abusive relationship with the help and support of Freeva.

"Last year, I found out that my best mate Alex was in an abusive relationship. It was such a shock, and was certainly something I never thought was going to affect one of my closest friends.

Luckily, I was able to get him the help he needed to leave the awful situation".

I first realised something was wrong when he cancelled on my birthday party. I called him to ask him about it, and he couldn’t really give me a straight answer – he seemed stressed out, which was very out of character for him. He’s my best friend and ever since we were kids we’ve always had big plans on each other’s birthdays – we never missed them. After the phone call, I saw him much less, and some of my other mates said they hadn’t seen him at all, which I was obviously concerned about.

What is Sexual Abuse

When I did meet up with him, he wasn’t himself. He’s usually the life and soul of the party wherever we go, but suddenly he was really quiet, and when I tried to ask him what was up, he’d be quite defensive and snappy. He’d get phone calls all the time from his partner, multiple times in one hour, and would leave the room to take them. He was clearly stressed every time that phone rang.

I didn’t give up trying to speak to him about it, and eventually he opened up to me. By that point, things had become so bad that I think he just couldn’t cope anymore. He told me that his partner had become incredibly controlling, that he feared outbursts from her, and was worried for his own safety. At this point, he was blaming himself for the abuse, and it was clear that his partner had put him down and verbally attacked him to the point where he believed he was worthless, and deserved it.

How Freeva helped Tom & Alex

I didn’t know where to turn, obviously I wanted to help him, but he didn’t want me to tell anyone – he felt really ashamed that it was happening to him, and I think he was also really scared of his partner finding out, which was hard to see. I decided to do some research into his options and see how I could help him out of the situation, and that’s when I found Freeva.

I passed their details to Alex and reassured him that I would be with him every step of the way if he needed.

The service being free and confidential was what convinced Alex to talk to someone. That, and Freeva’s understanding of how hard it is for male victims to reach out for help. He felt understood and seen for the first time in a long time.

I was so pleased when he picked up the phone and called the helpline. The emotional support worker made him feel comfortable enough to open up, and eased his anxiety about making the call. Just knowing that the phone call would be hidden from his phone bill was a huge weight off his shoulders.

Most importantly, they made him feel validated, and talked him through his options and the support he could access, which gave him a real sense of hope that there was a path forward, and that he wasn’t alone.

Since that first phone call, Freeva have helped Alex to leave the abusive relationship, and he has begun counselling. He has now turned a real corner and is so much better, he’s coming out of his shell and getting back to his old self again, which is amazing to see.

To anyone who is in the same situation as I was, I would urge you to just reach out to those who you are concerned for. Let them know you are there for them and check everything is okay. Don’t be afraid to point out things that worry you, even if it’s difficult. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and by taking that first step and connecting them with a specialist support service, you could be changing their lives.

How Freeva helped Tom & Alex

I didn’t know where to turn, obviously I wanted to help him, but he didn’t want me to tell anyone – he felt really ashamed that it was happening to him, and I think he was also really scared of his partner finding out, which was hard to see. I decided to do some research into his options and see how I could help him out of the situation, and that’s when I found Freeva.

I passed their details to Alex and reassured him that I would be with him every step of the way if he needed.

The service being free and confidential was what convinced Alex to talk to someone. That, and Freeva’s understanding of how hard it is for male victims to reach out for help. He felt understood and seen for the first time in a long time.

I was so pleased when he picked up the phone and called the helpline. The emotional support worker made him feel comfortable enough to open up, and eased his anxiety about making the call. Just knowing that the phone call would be hidden from his phone bill was a huge weight off his shoulders.

Most importantly, they made him feel validated, and talked him through his options and the support he could access, which gave him a real sense of hope that there was a path forward, and that he wasn’t alone.

Since that first phone call, Freeva have helped Alex to leave the abusive relationship, and he has begun counselling. He has now turned a real corner and is so much better, he’s coming out of his shell and getting back to his old self again, which is amazing to see.

"...I passed their details to Alex and reassured him that I would be with him every step of the way if he needed.

The service being free and confidential was what convinced Alex to talk to someone. That, and Freeva’s understanding of how hard it is for male victims to reach out for help. He felt understood and seen for the first time in a long time."

To anyone who is in the same situation as I was, I would urge you to just reach out to those who you are concerned for. Let them know you are there for them and check everything is okay. Don’t be afraid to point out things that worry you, even if it’s difficult. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and by taking that first step and connecting them with a specialist support service, you could be changing their lives.

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