Head bouncing off the walls. Used like a rag doll and punch-bag. Fistfuls of hair torn from her head. The fear of waking up and not knowing what the day will bring.

These were just some of the torment Jane (not her real name) says she was forced to endure during eight years of alleged domestic abuse by her husband.

It is a period in her life for which still bears the scars, both physical and mental.

She has now built up the courage to speak out in order to give those who may be in a similar situation the courage to come forward if they too are suffering.

“It has been a long time since we were together and talking about it I’ve kind of got over the pain of what went on and even kind of reconciled myself with it but my feeling about it is, not enough is known about it,” Jane explained.

“People think of the physical side and don’t think about what I would call the second arm which is anything from economic to mental abuse to control.

“It’s those things as well. It’s not talked about enough and I really want to encourage people to talk about it more. I want to encourage people to talk about it.

“The more out in the open it is the easier it is to talk about these things and easier for people who are suffering to come forward.”

Jane admits that she missed what she describes as “red flags” when she first met her ex-husband that she just wasn’t aware about.

She was vulnerable when they first met. Coming out of a long-term relationship, Jane says he was not her usual type, but he turned on the charm and she believes even from an early stage, he was “grooming” her for what was to come.

Another “red flag” was the insistence by her ex-husband to rush their engagement and get married.

“The more quickly we were married, the more quickly I would become, in his mind, his property and he could drop the façade.”

And then it all began.

“It was only afterwards that I began to see him for the person he truly was; a misogynistic narcissist. It became clear to me, very quickly, that he had no respect for women. They were toys, playthings, worthless in every respect other than to be subservient to him at his beck and call.”

Jane described him as a “binge drinker” and although alcohol played a significant part in the physical side of the abuse, whenever he was not drinking the mental and coercive abuse would manifest itself then.

“The first time it happened, the only thing I could think to do was call the police and that earned me a more severe beating. I’ll never forget that growl as he grabbed my clothing at the neck and pulled me nose-to-nose with him, glaring into my face and saying: “so you’d call the police on me would ye?” the other fist raised ready to plant into my face.

“Alcohol and the alcohol induced physical violence was one thing. I had never been a person to back down from intimidation. In the beginning I would argue and fight back. I quickly learned that only added oxygen to what was already a fire in full blaze.

“When he had been drinking, I was in for a beating whether I said anything or not. There was always an apology and a promise that it wouldn’t happen again. There was my “red flag” staring me in the face.

“I chose to ignore it in the hope that things would improve. That he would honour his promise. In reality, I should have left him then. Anyone who is prone to violence in a relationship will do it again, even more so if they are permitted to get away with it once. Only next time it will be worse.”

He did not honour his promise. The violence escalated each time, she says, claiming he would grab fistfuls of her hair, on each side of her head and use it to bounce her head off the walls. It is alleged he used her like a punch-bag, threw her over things and round things.

“I felt like a ragdoll in his hands. He tried to strangle me and worse. The violence was escalating so quickly with each episode I was becoming really afraid I was going to be found dead.”

It had become so bad that Jane even thought of writing a letter and hiding it somewhere saying that if she was found murdered it would have been by his hand.

“I still cannot get the picture out of my mind of being pinned up against a wall by one of his hands with the other in a fist clenched and raised at my head. I was inches away from the most ugly, unrecognisable, twisted and contorted face, froth flowing from his mouth as he spat obscenities at me, eyes as black as coal. In that one brief moment, I discovered that Evil has a face. I was looking at it.

“Home is the one place you are meant to be able to feel safe.”

As well as the physical abuse, coercive control and mental abuse were never far away.

Jane was prevented from having any kind of social life and only communicated with family members.

But she was not even afforded the courtesy of a private conversation. Jane was forced to have all conversations in his presence.

Trips to the shops were always rushed as Jane knew that if she spent too long away from the house there would be consequences when she returned.

“Sometimes I would bump into someone I knew and stand and chat. It was always in the back of my mind that I had to get home. I’d be accused of doing something.”

Due to certain conditions, Jane gained weight. Something which her ex-husband was quick to let her know about.

The taunts and abuse came. He called her “fat and ugly”, “Miss Piggy” or “walrus”.

The words had such an impact on Jane that even to this day she still thinks of herself as “fat and ugly”.

Eventually it all got too much and Jane became depressed. She stopped eating. She was having daily panic and anxiety attacks and was eventually signed off work on long term sick. Jane could not even function as a human being let alone work.

Finally, one day Jane decided to break the cycle and get out of the marriage.

Although she has moved on Jane is still working through her experiences.

She lives a solitary life and finds it diffuclt to let people in.

Her trust and faith in people shattered.

And Jane now has the strength to speak out in the hope her story can raise awareness.

“Everyone associates domestic violence with physical abuse. In coming forward with my experiences, I hope to encourage people to recognise the second arm of domestic violence, the hidden element, mental violence, the psychological abuse.

“It was only after he left that I realised how damaged of a person I had become. I wasn’t even a shadow of the woman I had once been. I have had to come to accept that I will never be that woman again.

“It isn’t possible. I am left with too many scars; the psychological ones are the worst. I don’t know that a person can ever fully heal from those.

“I have learned how to live with mine.”