A woman who suffered a year of horrific abuse and violence at the hands of her ex boyfriend has spoken out in support of other victims.
Grace Weatherill, 19, described how her ex Cassius Harrison, also 19, controlled her entire life, and would knock her unconscious at the slightest provocation.
On one occasion he lashed out at Grace after going through her phone and seeing a text from a family friend, who had simply wished her a happy Christmas.
Harrison knocked Grace unconscious with a single blow, leaving her to wake up on the bedroom floor with a bloody nose.
‘He had gone through my phone when I had gone downstairs and found a text from a friend of mine who he didn’t like,’ Grace said.
‘I walked back into the room and he literally jumped on me. He headbutted me and knocked me out and even told me to go to hospital when I came round because my nose would not stop bleeding.’
After suffering at the hands of Harrison for more than a year, Grace finally found the strength to report him to the police.
Harrison, from Marton in Middlesborough, was jailed for 20 months for five separate assault charges, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm, at Teesside Crown Court.
Harrison wouldn’t let Grace leave the house or socialise, or even go to the bingo with her mum.
Grace, a health care assistant at Middlesborough’s James Cook University Hospital, said the turning point came when Harrison stripped her naked and beat her so violently that she feared she was going to die.
She said: ‘He locked me in the house and took my bag and phone, then he ripped off my clothes so I was completely naked. I actually thought this time he was going to kill me.
‘He kicked me up and down the stairs repeatedly until I curled up into a ball in hope he would think I was unconscious.
‘I then heard him running the bath with scalding hot water and him shouting down the stairs, “you just watch what I’m going to do next”.
‘I could see the landing filling with hot steam, and I knew he wanted to hurt me. At one point he even got a knife from the kitchen and threatened to slice my face open so “no one would want to look at me”.’
The facts: Domestic abuse in the UK
- One in four women experience domestic abuse in their lives. For men, this figure is one in six.
- Two women are killed by a current or former partner every week in England and Wales.
- Globally, one in three women have experienced sexual or physical violence – in most cases from a partner or family member.
- Around 54 per cent of rapes reported to police take place within the context of domestic violence.
- Every minute a domestic violence case is reported to police. But…
- Only 35 per cent of domestic violence cases are actually reported to the police.
Grace managed to distract Harrison so she could climb through a small window to escape and get into her car. Even though she was ’embarrassed’ about being naked, she was desperate to get out.
Now she has finally started to get her life back on track, and is hoping to encourage other victims to speak out.
‘I just hope by telling my story I can encourage others to tell the police and get justice,’ she said.
‘I’m lucky I got away when I did, as I probably wouldn’t be here to tell my story today.’