National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse


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EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.

We also present original articles we hope will inform the community ...
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"My heart stopped when I saw photo of
Nigella’s abuse .. it brought back horror of
my own domestic ordeal"
- Lurleen Hilliard
  Lurleen Hilliard - NAASCA's Leprechaun

Amazing dedication, infectious energy

by Bill Murray

Here's an article from one of the UK's biggest and best known newspapers, The Sunday Mirror, which features one of NAASCA's own family members, Lurleen Hilliard.

Lurleen's from Ireland, and refers to herself as NAASCA's leprechaun (her nickname for herself is "Leppi"). She's one of an ever-growing group of across-the-pond and down-under NAASCA volunteers.

Her dedication is amazing, her energy infectious. She's been a great help with our social networking efforts, and is now assisting me in finding and scheduling "Stop Child Abuse Now" talk show guests.

A real "people person," Lurleen thinks nothing of calling anyone, any time, and frequently uses SKYPE to connect with folks overseas.

As if that wasn't enough, Leepi's also a regular panelist now on our talk show, staying up until the wee hours of the morning so that she can participate!

Lurleen was a featured special guest herself on the talk show recently. Here's the link to the on-demand version of her appearance, now in pour recommended show archives:

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 575 -- Lurleen Hilliard, from Ireland - originally aired 5/17/13


Sunday Mirror
June 6, 2013

MUM Suffers 20 years of hell


WHEN Lurleen Hilliard saw the pictures of Nigella Lawson being choked by her husband, it sent a chill down her spine.

Multi-millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi may have dismissed the whole incident as a “playful tiff”, but to Lurleen it brought back memories of her traumatic past.

The Irish mum knows only too well what it’s like to be the victim of domestic abuse.

For over 20 years she was mentally, physically and sexually abused, and she felt too powerless to escape.

Last night the brave mother of four revealed how she freed herself from her violent husband, and how she came to help adult survivors of child abuse.

Lurleen said: “When I saw the picture of Saatchi with his hands around Nigella’s throat, my heart stopped. It brought back so many bad memories. “I just didn’t expect to see this, for him to do something like that in public.

“Certainly we don’t know exactly what happened, but I can’t help but wonder what happened later when they got home.”

The 44-year-old told the Irish Sunday Mirror she completely fell for her husband’s act when she first met him. She explained: “I was 20 years old when we met. I wasn’t very confident at the time – I was a chubby kid. “He was good looking, he paid me a lot of attention and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

“I didn’t know it then but it was a game from the start.

“I was very quiet, I didn’t go out or spend time with boys, and he had a bet with his friend about who could get me in bed first.”

Lurleen said her parents hated her future husband from day one. She said: “I think a part of me was rebellious. He made me think that they were in the wrong, and my relationship with my parents changed.

“They didn’t speak to me for quite a while. In fact, it wasn’t until I had my own children that they came back into my life.”

Dubliner Lurleen said it took her years to realise she had married an abuser because the violence increased gradually.

“It was more about control at first. He would do what he wanted, he was having affairs, and he would lie to my face about it even after being caught in the act.

“He would insult me and there was mental abuse right from the very start but it was only after several years together that he started pushing and shoving me.”

In the last 10 years of the marriage, the violence became horrific, according to Lurleen.

She said: “Anything would set him off. He would hit me where people wouldn’t see. He would rape me. “I ended up sleeping with two knives, one in each hand underneath the pillow, and I would have a bottle of spray bleach under the bed.

“I’m not sure what I would have done had he attacked me in the night, but that’s just the way it was. I literally slept with one eye open all the time.” Her husband also became abusive towards one o f t h e i r children, the second of their four sons.

“On one occasion he put my son’s head through a wardrobe. My son was a young teen at the time.

“He saw his dad open a can of beer at around 8.30am, and he said something to him about it, but that got my husband angry. “On another occasion I didn’t have the dinner out so he got angry.

“He punched me in the eye so badly that my eyebrow burst open. I told people that I had been mugged on my way to see my mother at the hospital and he got away with it.”

The Glasnevin woman tried to find help, and even contacted the gardai, but she felt so threatened she dropped charges. She said: “I only went to the gardai two or three times during our marriage.

“I never went through with charges. Once I initially did and he was told not to come back to the house, but he showed up in the middle of the night and disconnected all the phone lines. “The message was pretty clear. I knew what was going to happen if I tried anything else.

“Another time he threatened to bring me up the Dublin Mountains to gang rape me with his friends. I would shake just looking at him.”

It wasn’t until two years ago, when her husband left the country to find work after losing his well-paid job, that Lurleen finally managed to escape.

While this brought her immense relief, it was not the end of her troubles. She has been forced to live in hiding with two of her sons to make sure her husband does not find her again.

She explained: “The problem is that the minute he left the country, the authorities here could do nothing “The gardai couldn’t charge him for anything, not for assault. I had no protection order, no safety order, no barring order.

“I can’t get a divorce or sole custody of my children because he’s not here to appear in court.

“He can come and go in Ireland whenever he wants because he is an Irish passport holder.”

Lurleen, who is planning to move to the US to get away from her ex, has written a book about her shocking life called Survivors Not Statistics which will be released in two months’ time through Xlibris Publishing.

She said: “The reason I am vocal about this is to stop him controlling me.”

Pay heed to warning signs

The Women’s Aid charity has listed some warning signs to help women in particular make sense of their situation.

It says any one of the following signs is serious – and you do not need to experience several, or all, of them for your relationship to be abusive:

You are afraid of your partner.

You are constantly “walking on eggshells” because of his mood swings.

You spend your time working out what kind of mood he is in and the focus is always on his needs.

HE loses his temper easily and over minor things.

HE has hit you or almost hit you and / or your children. He has threatened you / your kids.

YOUR partner has been abusive in a previous relationship.

HE criticises your family and friends and / or makes it difficult for you to see them or talk to them on your own.

HE calls you names and mocks you and / or your children.

HE is jealous and accuses you.

HE regularly criticises or undermines you in front of others including the way you look, dress, and / or your abilities as a mother.

YOUR needs are not considered important or are ignored, and he makes the decisions in the relationship.

YOU find it hard to get time on your own.

WHEN you spend time away from him, he demands to know where you were and who you were with.

HE tries to control your life.

The Women’s Aid freephone helpline (in Ireland) 1800 341 900 is open from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week.
why we started this site
together we can heal
help stop child abuse
a little about us
join us, get involved