Alice-Rose Trent is among the 1.2million British women who experience domestic abuse each year. But Alice-Rose is no victim – she’s a survivor. Here, she tells Female First about how she coped with an abusive husband and how others can, too. Her new book based on her experiences, Duped x3 Liars!, is out now.

Author Alice-Rose Trent's new book is out now

Author Alice-Rose Trent's new book is out now

It started with a slap. Fists and boots would come later. It wasn’t even one of his hardest. But the pain that first slap caused me was worse – far worse – than the punches and the kicks. The soreness soon went but the emotional wound it inflicted has lingered ever since.

My husband was, at first, my knight in shining armour. He was everything I wanted from a man. He was a soulmate and companion. He swept me off my feet. To the outside world, he was a pillar of the community – charming, charismatic, friendly and sociable.

And then, something changed: he swept me off my feet using backhanders, open-palm slaps, punches to the face and body, and kicks to the stomach and legs. He would normally apologise and promise to “change”. At first, I believed him. And then, as weeks grew into months and then into years, I realised that nothing would ever, ever change. He was an abuser and I was his plaything.

When the blows rained down, I thought of nothing other than escape. I was a fly in his intricate web of lies, deceit and violence. My body was trapped, certainly, but my mind was free; I spent every waking minute plotting my escape and the prospect of a happier life.

My journey to emancipation started with a journal. Its tear-stained pages became a self-help manual and escape map, all rolled into one. At first, I would re-read my entries hundreds and hundreds of times, trying desperately to fathom if the abuses I’d suffered were my fault. But slowly and surely, those same entries became a source of strength. They hardened my resolve to escape the man who had destroyed my mind, body and soul.

The birth of our daughter was the catalyst I needed. Ruining my life was one thing, but I would and could never – ever – allow him to ruin hers. I packed my bags and fled for safety. I kept the journal. It exposed his dirty secrets and gave the professionals who helped me a better understanding of the emotional trauma I suffered.

My walk to freedom hasn’t been easy. I still suffer with frequent flashbacks – often from innocuous events or conversations that remind me of him. But I’m out and doing OK.

People sometimes ask me what I’d do differently if I had the chance to go again. When they do, I tell them to go with their gut feeling; if something feels uncomfortable or weird, it’s probably wrong. Act on your instincts and walk away.

Life is short, and we are here to live and learn from our mistakes, to make the best of our lives with the ones who brighten our souls. Surround yourself with likeminded people who have your best interests at heart, and remember that whatever happens, you’re not to blame. You’re a survivor.

Duped X3 Liars! (YouCaxton Publications) is out now, priced £9.99 in paperback and £4.99 as an eBook. It is available for sale on Amazon UK.