Shauna Gallon's story- behind one influencer's "perfect" life and her inspiration to help others.

I find it very hard to find the words or where to begin, but I have suffered two types of abuse in my lifetime. At the age of 18 I was sexually assaulted by what I thought to be a close friend, the event shook me so much that I feel as though I walked away a completely different girl that day. I felt as though my innocence, dignity and strength was taken away by one person’s actions. I always viewed myself as very independent and strong-willed girl, and I sometimes look back at that event and question whether that’s where it all went wrong for my next very abusive relationship.

I met my ex a couple months after the event and the police investigations where still ongoing. He urged me to get out of Newcastle and within a month moved down to Grimsby where he lived, in a desperate escape of the reality of the pain I felt back home I immediately thought this was a good idea. A new start somewhere new sounded very appealing to me at the time. The beginning was good, he came across as a very understanding, kind and funny person and I found some sort of comfort being away from home.

But within 2 months the abuse started, it would start with little things, chucking his iPhone at my eye so it would swell up and bruise, chucking objects at me and pushing and shoving. We lived at his mum’s house at this point, so I blamed it on the situation, “we are always on top of each other so he’s getting frustrated” “it’ll be better when we move”. Of course that wasn’t the case, we moved into a flat and here the abuse escalated, he’d pin me up against walls by my throat, he would spit in my face , he’d drag me up the stairs by my hair when I tried to escape and guard the door so I couldn’t get out. Again, I’d make excuses, “his jobs stressful” “its money worries”. I don’t know why but I feel like I wanted to help him, that I could do him some good, I felt sorry for him at the time.

We moved again to a house as I felt like that would be better, “we’d have move space” in a desperate attempt to de-fuel the arguments, but here for a year the abuse was intense. It was a daily occurrence, I’d feel sick to my stomach when I would hear his car pull up outside, “what him will I get today?” I knew whatever mood he was in I’d suffer one way or the other. I even started uni to get out the house away from the abuse, at this point I had distanced myself from family, friends and I had no one. We never went out he never wanted me or him to leave the house, I was literally his prisoner. He’d scream at me “it was your fault you got raped you stupid cunt” , he’d always slate my family and friends , and tell me how disgusted watching how much they don’t care, the arguments would come from nowhere, if he had a bad day at work to me making little mistake in day to day life , as little as dropping or smashing a cup for example.

At this point I barely spoke when the abuse would be happening, I’d just crawl up in a ball on the floor and let him get his anger out, I didn’t even cry, I just felt numb all the time. He kick me to the floor and stamp on my legs, he hit me so hard I nearly passed out, my legs where always covered in deep large bruises, one time my little sister and step mum noticed at a Christmas visit , of course I lied and said I slipped and fell getting into the pool whilst swimming. I never looked him in the eye when he was hitting me, I’d just be silent and let it go ahead till he was finished. it was daily, then twice daily then sometimes it would go on all day. He’d take my phone, my car keys, when I tried to run, he’d lock all the doors, so I stopped trying. When he locked the door, I knew he was getting ready to do it, writing this gave me goose bumps all over as that’s when I knew it was coming, or the sound of him stomping up the stairs coming for me still riddles me with anxiety.

One night I was running a bath upstairs, I told him I wanted to go home to see my dad, “please I just want to go see my dad I’m not leaving you” he flipped and stomped up the stairs , he grabbed me by the back of my hair and pushed my face into the bath tub, I can still feel the pain in the back of my neck from trying to push my head back out, he’d hold my head under, lift me up then push me straight back under, the bath was hot and it even burned my face. This time I managed to get into my car and drive, I was freezing and soaking wet, here I knew if I didn’t get help, he’d kill me, I rang my best friend, I told her everything, and started to plan my escape.

We still had a suitcase upstairs from a business trip, so I packed some clothes, essentials and brought it downstairs and told him I was putting it back in the garage outside (where its usually kept). Instead I put it in the boot of my car, I covered it with a blanket, so he didn’t see. The next day I got up as usual ready to go to uni, I got in my car but instead of going to uni I fled and went home. And I never looked back. I’ll never forget driving past our house knowing I’ll never have to go back, and the feeling was so liberating. I was on the phone to my best friend the whole time, I even pulled over and I nearly went back. I honestly was so manipulated I really didn’t think I had no one without him.

Even now I’ve moved home I’ve been tormented with calls and emails, he told me he’d throw acid in my face and cut my throat. He even turned up to my new address. 5 months on I’m getting ready to move to somewhere where he will have no clue where I am. I’m still repairing, I’m building myself back up, I feel strong , I feel happy , I’ve met someone new who has really showed me what it’s like to be treat properly. My friends & family and I are closer than ever. I have support all around me and I feel so lucky and blessed to be home. I know I still have a long way to go rebuilding myself, but I have overcome so much in my little life so far, I know I can conquer anyone or anything going forward. As an influencer I show off this perfect life and I think it’s been a huge life lesson for me, it’s important for people to realise that that’s not real, and I hope I can now use my following to help and do some good.

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