'I never thought my life could be this good': Mother, 32, who physically abused husband for SEVEN years after vodka binges tells how his forgiveness saved her life


  • Emma Bushen, 32, turned to alcohol after the birth of her first child
  • Mother of three would down vodka before turning on husband James
  • Children taken into care by social services
  • James, 34, eventually asked Emma to leave and she moved in to flat alone and continued drinking
  • Two years later, Emma attempted suicide by overdose - but James called 999
  • James took Emma back and the two are now tee-total
  • ''I will never drink again,' says Emma. 'I never thought my life could be this good'

By Deborah Arthurs

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Blocked out: Emma Bushen says she has no memory of the violent attacks she inflicted upon her husband after drinking vodka

Blocked out: Emma Bushen says she has no memory of the violent attacks she inflicted upon her husband after drinking vodka

A woman who abused her husband for seven years has spoken out on This Morning to warn others trapped in violent relationships to get help.

Emma Bushen, 32, physically attacked her partner James on a regular basis over a seven year period - until her onslaughts became so vicious and so frequent that he finally asked her to leave.

Emma, who has three children with James, says the violence began after the birth of her first child seven years ago - but that until then, she had never been victim to violence, nor experienced violent behaviour as a child growing up.

'I was rebellious as a teenager, but never violent to anybody,' she told Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes on This Morning today. 'There was no violence in my own family.'

But when Liam, now seven, was born, Emma says she was left exhausted - and turned to drink.

'It all changed with the drink - it made me violent,' she says.

'He never slept through the night until he was three,' she said. 'I was so tired I started having a couple of drinks at night time.

'I've always liked a drink, but it got to be more and more, then I started being violent.'

'I don't remember ever hurting James. Where I'd drunk so much, it was blocked out,' she says. 

'The next morning, James would wake me up and say, "look what you've done"'

'I really couldn't remember.'

Emma, from Maidstone in Kent, admits that it wasn't only James who felt her wrath. Her friends too would suffer when she'd had a drink.

'I'd hurt my friends as well -but only when I'd had a drink,' she says.

As time went by and Emma's behaviour worsened, she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and put on medication.

 

'My doctors advised me not to drink because the tablets wouldn't work - but I carried on drinking,' she said.

'I think that was why my behaviour was more irrational - it was a combination of the drink and the tablets,' she says.

Her bricklayer husband James, who has suffered immeasurably at her hands, has supported her throughout - and the two are now back together.

'James has been brilliant,' she says. 'He has always stood by me.'

Emma says that during the time she was violent to him, he never told his friends and family in order to protect her.

Liz Ostrowski from the Domestic Violence Intervention Project said many men are too embarrassed to tell anyone they are being abused, but Emma, right, urges them to seek help

Ashamed: Liz Ostrowski from the Domestic Violence Intervention Project said many men are too embarrassed to tell anyone they are being abused, but Emma, right, urges them to seek help

'He would wake up and say, "you bit me, you scratched me," but I wouldn't believe it.

'Because my friends were drinkers too, if I asked them what I did they would say it wasn't that bad - they were drinkers and wanted me to carry on drinking.'

Appearing on the sofa with Emma, Liz Ostrowski from the Domestic Violence Intervention Project said there is a large number of men out there too embarrassed to confess that they are victims of domestic abuse.

'Of the 400 perpetrators that are referred or come to us seeking help, two per cent are women; she says. But, she says, many do not tell authorities, friends or family.

'James was totally embarrassed by all of it,' Emma agrees.

'He didn't want to tell his family cos didn't want them to think badly of me,'

Now that they are back together, Emma says she will never drink again.

'We couldn't bear our lives to fall back into that cycle of alcohol and violence,' she says. 'We are putting our lives back together.

'James knew it wasn't me, it was the alcohol. He had faith in me.'

Indeed, James found it in his heart to forgive Emma and take her back.

Emotional: Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were touched by Emma's sad tale - with Eamonn moved to give her a hug, saying,' I know the whole story, and what you've been through'

Emotional: Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were touched by Emma's sad tale - with Eamonn moved to give her a hug, saying,' I know the whole story, and what you've been through'

'I reached rock bottom in October last year after I lost the kids and was given a flat on my own. Social services took the children.

'I took an overdose. I didn't want to be here any more.

'James called the police - he hadn't heard from me.

'When I came round, I thought, "I want my family back, I want my life back.'

Emma has now been sober for over a year and says she could never have imagined being this happy.

'My life now is better than I could have ever expected it to be.

'I want to say to people in my situation, you don't want a lonely life with alcohol, or violence. There is help out there, so go and get help'


Visit itv.com/thismorning for information on helplines that can assist with issues relating to domestic violence.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

I think her husband is mad for forgiving her! He would not have been if it had been him!

Click to rate     Rating   42

David, I totally agree! The male in question would surely be lambasted... But it seems that as its a female- the rules are different!

Click to rate     Rating   44

I wonder if the roles were reversed and it was her husband abusing her there would be the same amount of sympathy, I think not.

Click to rate     Rating   136

How can you all comment that SHE's a brave lady for 'Facing her demons' if she was a guy sat on that sofa telling her story it would be a very different reaction

Click to rate     Rating   152

Being tee-total for a year cannot bring any guarantees that she will not drink again. - Aint that the truth, Hertfordshire, UK, 21/09/2012 21:22 And then there are the people like you who can't see past the bad and automatically think that this lady will go straight back on the drink etc... How are people supposed to fight and get through bad times when there is always someone there to shoot them straight back down! Disgusting!

Click to rate     Rating   2

Should we really be glorifying this? She is a domestic abuser. - bumblebee , London, 22/9/2012 00:22 She WAS a domestic abuser and if this story helps just one other person turn their life around or gives one man the courage to leave an abusive partner, then maybe there's some justification in glorifying it :)

Click to rate     Rating   12

I think she's getting far more tea and sympathy than her husband would if the roles had been reversed.

Click to rate     Rating   116

We know that if she had been a man the overwhelming call would be to ditch her. We're supposed to believe that men are intrinsically nasty, where as women have reasons and problems that need help.

Click to rate     Rating   54

Why are people wishing her the best for the future? If this was a man, people would be calling for him to be jailed and for his kids to be taken away for good. She's an abuser. Her gender makes no difference here.

Click to rate     Rating   77

Strange isn't it, turns her life around but nobody posting recognises this. Guess it doesn't fit the 'never change' brigade

Click to rate     Rating   7

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