The first time my husband hit me, I ran away and locked myself in a room. Not long after, he came in, wiped away my tears and cried his way through an apology. I always said I’d never stay with a man who laid a finger on me, but by that time, I was expecting our first child. I felt like I couldn’t break up our family over a moment of anger. So, I forgave him.
The second time he hit me was much harder than the first. And each time after that, it only got worse.
The final straw was one day when my husband flew into a particularly violent rage. Once I’d rinsed the blood from my mouth, I went into my son’s room and found him cowering under his covers.
The next morning, I waited until my husband left for work. When I was sure he’d gone, I packed our things into a plastic bag and left.
‘Someone at the refuge said I should contact NZF’
My husband would’ve found me if we’d gone to a friend’s house, so we were forced to go to a refuge. After months of living with alcoholics and people who’d just been released from prison, I was given temporary accommodation. Before I left, someone at the refuge said I should contact a charity called the National Zakat Foundation.
I took the advice and gave NZF a call. I was put through to a kind lady who introduced herself as my Caseworker. When she asked me what was happening, I told her about my husband’s violence. I told her we had nothing, and that every night I lay on the cold, hard floor of my empty flat, wondering how I’d be able to afford basic necessities like food, clothes, or even just a small bed that me and my son could share. I was receiving some benefits, but it just wasn’t enough to survive.
‘I could finally stop worrying about teachers calling social services’
NZF agreed to provide me with emergency support so I could start picking up the pieces of my life. It helped us return to some kind of normality. When we’d first moved in, we didn’t have an oven, pots or pans, so there was physically no way I could cook. But once NZF gave us money for kitchenware, we could have proper food instead of just cereal or sandwiches for dinner.
Using the vouchers NZF gave us, I bought us some new clothes. After that, my mental state improved dramatically, mostly because I knew my son was being taken care of. I could finally stop worrying about teachers calling social services if they happened to notice the holes in his shoes and trousers. Now that I know he’s not going to be taken away from me, I’m well enough to start focusing on finding work.
Because of NZF’s support, we were relocated to a permanent home. Since I knew we wouldn’t be moving again, I could settle down and start afresh. My Caseworker made sure my new house wasn’t too far from my old area, so I didn’t have to change my son’s school, or deal with the challenges of moving to a new community. That means my friends and family are still close by, and I have a bit of extra help if I need it.
‘NZF is a life-line’
At my lowest point, I didn’t want to live anymore. I wondered what kind of mother I was. At least my son had food and clothes when we’d lived with his father. I felt like I was making him suffer because I couldn’t take being hurt.
There were times I convinced myself to go back to my husband. That was my only option, until NZF came along. Yes, they provided me with food and clothes, but they also gave me safety and security. Thanks to their help, I can live a stable life, knowing I have the necessities I need to build a better life for my son.
The truth is, NZF is more than just a charity; it’s a life-line.
The National Zakat Foundation uses Zakat to support individuals in a transformative way, so they can be self-sufficient. Stay up-to-date with all our latest insights, stories, research and news – subscribe here for our monthly newsletter.
National Zakat Hotline: 03333 123 123 (Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm, local rates) or apply online apply.nzf.org.uk
This post is based on a real and recent case study.