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Escape With Car Hire

Jan 10, 2008
Tanya had worked at the women's refuge for about 8 years and seen some sad sights. Women desperate to hang on to a family for the sake of their children but who ended up leaving it until it was almost too late to get out. Women who thought this was all there was and that there was no way out. They had been worn down for so long they didn't even think it was worth trying.

Of course, there was never ending attempts at educating women, and men, that domestic violence was not something you had to live with. Advertising campaigns, help lines and safe houses were available but you couldn't make someone accept the help. Most often, women were too afraid of their imagined consequences to make a stand.

It was at this point in her voluntary career that Tanya met Alex. She had been called to the local hospital to counsel a woman who had been brought in after a road traffic accident. The accident was the result of the woman, Alex's, husband cutting the brake cables on her car. Fortunately, Alex wasn't badly hurt, physically, but it was obvious that untold damage had been done over a period of time to this woman's emotional and mental wellbeing.

After talking to Alex for some time, it transpired that she had been married to her husband for nearly 15 years - not many of them happily. In the beginning, she said, she had put the constant sniping and spitefulness down to stress. They were trying to set up their own car hire business and, as with all new business's, they had struggled at first.

Children had come along, as they do, and Alex accepted that her husband was a stressful person and did all she could to smooth the path for her family. Once the youngest was at school, she even offered to go out to work to ensure a regular income while the business was in its early years.

However, Alex's husband had forbidden her to do this. Apparently, he didn't trust her. Men often use this as an excuse to put the blame for their abuse back onto the woman. He did, however, allow her to work in the office of his car hire company. At least this way he could keep an eye on her!

The problem was that once Alex was working with her husband, the abuse didn't stop at home. Constantly put down with his references to her weight, his way of calling her names and telling her she was ugly and useless had a deeply ingrained affect on her that would take years of counselling to get her over.

This became a normal way of life and as unhappy as Alex was she felt unable to get out. Her livelihood and that of her children's was wrapped up in this man. She had no money of her own, was only allowed use of a car on certain occasions, was never allowed anything in her own name and wasn't even allowed out alone so how would she ever make a break?

Even when their car hire business took off, the abuse didn't stop. He always apologised of course, putting it down to the stress of the business. Then he began to physically abuse Alex. It was always a calculated attack, punching where bruises wouldn't show or on joints were he knew no bruising ever came out. After this type of abuse, he would lock Alex in the house, taking her keys and certainly never leaving any money around.

When Tanya met Alex at the hospital, she knew exactly what point she was at, having seen it countless times before. Alex had begun to verbally stand up to her husband and he didn't like it. A power struggle began and he didn't want to lose. This is when he thought he would teach Alex a lesson and he cut the brake cables on one of the hire cars.

She didn't question why he was letting her out alone, she was just grateful and thought that maybe her standing up to him was working. Until she tried to stop at the junction on to the main road.

And that's how she ended up in hospital. During their first counselling session, Tanya could see the empty hollowness in Alex's eyes but had every faith that she could rid her of that.

Together, Tanya and Alex consulted a solicitor specialising in domestic violence. Thanks to Alex's numerous doctors reports a case was brought against her husband and he ended up spending a good few years in prison.

This left Alex in charge of the car hire business and she wanted to turn it around to be something different, something to help others. The business was advertised in women's refuges and police stations all over the area. Alex was offering special rates to victims of abuse who needed a means to get away from their perpetrator. She found the strength to build a life for herself and her children with a thriving car hire business and a way to give something back and help others in a similar situation.
About the Author
Volunteer worker Catherine Harvey looks at the use of car hire and how it helped one woman escape a difficult life. To find out more please visit http://www.budget.co.uk/
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