My friends would tell me how wonderful they thought he was, how lucky I was, and that I had bagged myself a real catch.
I spent three years being thrown against walls, having cutlery hurled at me, being punched in the stomach, bitten, and spat at. One time he threw me out of the car at a service station miles from home and drove away, another time he threw me out of the car and left me on the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway. He continually humiliated me, told me I wasn't good enough, and knocked every last bit of confidence out of me.
I became insecure, paranoid, and unsociable, but weirdly felt I needed him in order to survive - he had some sort of hold on me. I never told anyone about what was going on.
I remember going to give blood and when I rolled up my sleeve there was a huge purple bruise with teeth marks on my arm where he had bitten me. I told the nurse that I had whacked it against a door knob. She gave me an odd look, and part of me wanted her to probe, but she didn't.
He finished the relationship in the end. And after two weeks of devastation, I felt overwhelming feelings of relief and freedom, and vowed never to speak or see him again, which I haven't. I also vowed to never ever let myself get into a similar situation again, which I haven't.
Before that relationship I was confident, outgoing and certainly no pushover. I have never really understood how he took a hold of me like that, but he did.
It took many years for me to start getting my confidence and self esteem back and to let myself trust anyone or get close to them. It wasn't until I met my truly wonderful husband Tom, that I learnt to trust again and feel secure. Tom completely believes in me, and makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING. He is the most amazing person I have ever met!
Twelve years later and I am talking about it publicly for the first time. Domestic violence charity Refuge and make-up artist Lauren Luke are launching a powerful online campaign telling victims of domestic violence, and wider society, ‘Don’t cover it up’ (65% of women who experience domestic violence keep it hidden).
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: 'For too long, domestic violence has been allowed to fester in the shadows of our society. Women who are abused often feel too afraid or ashamed to speak out. People frequently turn a blind eye when they know or suspect abuse is taking place, even when the victim is a loved one. This must end.'
Further support and information about domestic violence can be found here: www.refuge.org.uk/lauren.