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Westbury student Jaki, fights back from domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is real. It has many perpetrators and victims and it comes in many guises.

When you have been attacked, in whatever form it may have been, you will have questions. The first one is usually “why”? You will want answers, justice and perhaps revenge. In some cases you, the victim, will accept you are somehow to blame for what has happened to you. It is not your fault.

I didn’t ask to be attacked. What was planned as a weekend away with the man I trusted with my fears, my dreams and plans, my life, was to become my worst nightmare. In just one night he robbed me of my self-confidence, respect, dignity and courage. Before that night, I was confident, outgoing, and successful but he took it all away and left me empty. The bruises faded. The pain faded. I faded. I became a victim.

He still lives in the same town as I do so going out became less and less and then we had the first lockdown and I didn’t have to make excuses to my friends anymore for not wanting to go out. Eventually, I confided in a close friend and things started to change. I wanted my life back and one day whilst looking for something in the loft a box fell open and the contents of the box reminded me of a hobby I used to be passionate about. Martial arts.

I switched on the laptop and began to search for martial arts classes in my town. I wanted something different, something that would teach me how to defend myself, rather than fight. Trust me, it was difficult to fight in a very small space, in the dark, when your attacker is over six feet and weighs a lot more than you do. I came across an advert on Facebook for a ladies-only self-defence class in Westbury, run by Shaun Takle – B Smart Martial Arts. I sent a message and attended my first DefendHer Self Protection class on the 23rd of May 2021. I’ve been attending every week since. I can’t put into words what Shaun and B-Smart have done for me, but let me try.

I am not empty anymore. I have regained my self-confidence and I don’t flinch when people get too close to me. I have a social life again and I’m loving it. My courage is greater now than before and I have plans and dreams again and I’m looking forward to all of them. I like myself again too. I have learned life-saving skills that are second to none. The girls I train with are great and we do have fun in class (usually at Shaun’s expense, sorry Sir) but when it comes down to the serious stuff, we are there, focussed and willing to be taught.

If I hadn’t found B-Smart, would I still be a victim? Yes! But I did find it and it’s not only given me back my life but it’s also given me a whole new outlook too. I’m a survivor and that is how it is going to stay.

Thank you, Shaun and my fellow Shebeasts for being there, always.