Tuesday 18 December 2018

'Get out now and don't delay' - domestic abuse survivor Norah Casey's powerful message

Norah Casey and Bláthnaid Treacy at the launch of the #TooIntoYou campaign
Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX
Norah Casey and Bláthnaid Treacy at the launch of the #TooIntoYou campaign Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

Anyone who is in a toxic, unhealthy relationship has been urged to "get out now" by domestic abuse survivor Norah Casey.

Businesswoman Norah bravely spoke publicly for the first time last year about how she feared she would die at the hands of a violent ex-partner and now she says she feels that if she knew the warning signs of domestic abuse she might have been able to escape the relationship sooner.

She was speaking today as she helped to launch Women's Aid's #TooIntoYou campaign.

The initiative is aimed at women aged 18-25 and highlights abusive and controlling behaviour, featuring seven characters, such as 'Controlling Conor', 'Ten missed calls Ben' and 'Why don't you love me, Luke.'

Norah (57) told Independent.ie that it's vital that people are aware of the signs of unhealthy behaviour.

She said: "When I spoke about my own personal experience of domestic violence in the last year, at the time I didn't know much about the experiences of other survivors, I only knew my own and I didn't talk about it ever.

"Since then I've spoken to lots of other survivors and there were a lot of similarities in terms of the men who abused us.

"I always feel that if I had been more aware and more conscious of those signs then I might have avoided a nine year difficult marriage.

"For instance, I was not married when he slapped me the first time, he apologised and said he was stressed at work and would never do it again.

"I wanted to believe that but what I've found out since then is that if somebody slaps you once then they're not going to stop."

The former Dragon's Den mentor candidly shared her advice for anyone who is experiencing a toxic relationship.

"My advice to anyone in an unhealthy relationship is just to get out now, if anyone asks me to write a letter to my younger self, I would just say to get out now an don't delay.

"I think sometimes our intuition can tell us something is off but an abusive relationship can start off as a fairytale honeymoon and it quickly turns sour.

"So your gut is telling you to leave but you want to get back to feeling loved and like a princess and feeling like the perfect couple," she said.

As part of the campaign the Too Into you website highlights the warnings signs of unhealthy behaviour, it features testimonies from survivors and has an interactive quiz people can take if they are worried about their own relationship, as well as links to support services.

Alongside Norah, RTE presenter Bláthnaid Treacy is also a campaign ambassador and she said it's important that we all "open our eyes and ears to domestic abuse."

"We want to let young women know exactly what dating abuse is and to be able to recognise the signs, so they know whether or not they are getting into a healthy or unhealthy relationship.

"We are encouraging all women to listen to their intuition, because if it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong.

"The website TooIntoYou.ie has loads of helpful tips including a relationship health check quiz, which is really enlightening and I think every young woman should take it, whether they're seeing someone or not.

Bláthnaid Treacy and Margaret Martin are encouraging young women to recognise danger signs of abuse and seek help
Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX
Bláthnaid Treacy and Margaret Martin are encouraging young women to recognise danger signs of abuse and seek help Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

"With this campaign, we want to start the conversation and for us all to open our eyes and ears to dating and domestic abuse."

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said the campaign is about prevention and helping people to know early on if their relationship may be unhealthy.

"What we have found is that where there is domestic abuse later on in relationships, there are often starter signs earlier on, from ages 18-25 and younger.

"So we wanted to highlight unhealthy and inappropriate behaviour in relationships.

"Also emotional blackmail, it can start as flattering, thing like 'I've never loved anyone like this,' of course that can be really flattering at first, particularly if you're into them but then it can change into something else, where say if you want to go out with friends and they say you don't care and maybe even threatening to kill themselves.

"We're trying to show each of those individual types of behaviour, which can often overlap," she said.

Ms Martin stressed: "What we're say is that we're here, look at the website, do the relationship check up and if you are worried we are available 24/7 so give us a ring and if you need to talk to someone, feel free to talk to us."

  • For more information about Too Into You please visit here
  • Women's Aid can be reached on a Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900 24 hours a day

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