CHRISTOPHER JAMES HALL

UNSEEN ECHOES

OBJECTS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

We invite you to immerse yourself in the experience of “Unseen Echoes.” Take your time and slowly scroll through each image, allowing yourself to absorb the context and narrative behind each picture.

Please be aware that the images or narratives in this exhibition may be triggering for some people.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The UNSEEN ECHOES project offers a profound exploration of the hidden yet profound impact of domestic abuse. Through a combination of powerful imagery and deeply personal narratives, our mission is to unveil the pervasive nature of this issue and challenge the societal stigma that surrounds it.

Domestic abuse often leaves invisible scars, manifesting in the objects and spaces of our everyday lives. In this project, we shine a light on these silent witnesses – objects that carry the weight of trauma, pain, and resilience.

Each photograph captured for UNSEEN ECHOES tells a story beyond words. A broken cup, a painted mirror, a torn notebook – these seemingly ordinary items become symbols of unimaginable suffering and survival. They serve as visual echoes of the emotional and psychological turmoil endured by survivors.

Accompanying these powerful images are personal narratives that offer insight into the lived experiences of those impacted by domestic abuse. Through courageous storytelling, survivors share their journeys of trauma, resilience, and healing. Their voices break the silence, dispelling myths, and challenging misconceptions about domestic abuse.

By showcasing these objects and narratives, our goal is not only to raise awareness but also to foster empathy and understanding. We aim to inspire conversations that dismantle societal stigma and empower survivors to reclaim their narratives.

UNSEEN ECHOES is more than an exhibition – it’s a testament to the strength of survivors and a call to action for societal change. It invites viewers to confront the unseen echoes of domestic abuse, acknowledging the profound impact it has on individuals, families, and communities.

Together, let us confront the hidden realities of domestic abuse, amplify survivor voices, and work towards a future where every home is a sanctuary of safety, respect, and healing.

“Every morning there was a cup of tea waiting for me in the kitchen. Always in the same broken cup. I hated that cup, I wanted to smash it, but that would just get me in trouble. She would also leave the teabag and spoon for me to clean up.

She did it to remind me that I was a broken mess and that nobody would want me.

The thought of it still makes me feel sad and lonely.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I painted the bathroom mirror with black paint. I just couldn’t face looking at myself anymore.

He kept saying I was ugly every day. Not just once. Every time he looked at me he said it. I heard it so much I believed it. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t even look at myself.”

“He went away one weekend and he didn’t want me going out. So he took all my clothes. He took everything. He even emptied my underwear drawer.

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He would put a chair in the kitchen and make me sit on it. If I refused he would push me down and tie me to it.

He would make me tell him all the things I had done wrong that day. Then he would hit me for them.

If I couldn’t think of anything he would call me a liar and lock me in there until I thought of something. I had to think of something even though I knew he was going to hit me.”

“I had no freedom. I couldn’t even choose what I was going to wear. She did all of that.

She would leave clothes out on the bed for me. She even picked out what socks I would wear. I was more her fashion accessory. Just there to fit her image.

It’s humiliating when I look back at it. I couldn’t be me.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I still remember that belt. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick.

He used to leave it in plain sight, moving it around so I couldn’t escape seeing it. I knew exactly what it meant – the consequences if I made even the smallest mistake.”

“I wasn’t allowed on the bed. Every night, I’d try to sneak onto it, hoping for a moment of comfort, but she’d always shove me off.

I made it as comfortable as I could, with a cushion and a blanket, but it still felt like I was being treated like an animal. Lying there, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being less than human, even the dog had a bed.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“At first, it was just a bit of harmless fun, just a game we played.

But he started leaving for longer periods. He would go to the pub. I was scared. I dreaded his return and what he might do. I didn’t know what state he would be in.

Sometimes he would bring other men home. To use me for fun or to pay of his debts. I would lay there. I couldn’t run away.

I wanted it to stop. I wanted to die.”

“He took control of my banking, wanting to know every penny I had. Where it came from and where it went. I couldn’t have my own money. He watched everything. He’d even take cash from my account, moving it to his if he thought I had too much.

I dreamed of using that money to break free, but there was no hiding it from him. Every time I thought I had enough, he’d take it away.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“She would leave money on the table. It made me feel cheap that she would never give it to me. Said it was for the shopping. I had to make it stretch, get everything on her list, no excuses.

Sometimes, though, it wasn’t enough, and I’d have to beg or steal to get everything. Couldn’t go back without it all, it made her mad.

I tried to use it once to make a break for it, but she tracked me down. There was no escape.”

“I called it my escape fund, tucked away at the back of my wardrobe, hidden behind my clothes. He never bothered to look there.

Any spare change I had went straight into my secret stash.

One day, I’d save up enough to break free, to find my own place away from him.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“She’d snatch my phone every chance she got, always poking around in it, reading my messages, and checking who I’d called. It felt like I had no space to breathe, no privacy at all.

My phone wasn’t my phone anymore. It was a trap, a prison. Freedom? Forget about it.”

“He always come with me to shops, never help, just follow me. He make sure I don’t stop to talk to anyone.

After shop, he watch me struggle with bags, tell me hurry up for TV.

It feel like I can’t do anything without him watching.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He knew when I got paid on Fridays. The money would go straight into my bank account, but he’d make me go to the cashpoint to withdraw it.

I worked my butt off all week for that cash, but I never got to keep any of it. It felt like all my hard work was for nothing, like he was just using me so he could go to the pub.”

“I loved that bench. It became my sanctuary, a place where I could find peace away from the chaos. I couldn’t stay for too long though, he would notice I was gone and come looking for me

Those precious moments were all I needed. A sense of calm that I could hold onto.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I used to leave flowers in the window, like my own secret signal to the world. It felt comforting, like a silent message saying I was okay.

But on days when I forgot, I got scared. What if someone noticed the missing flowers and came looking? What would would happen if she answered the door. She would find out what I was doing.

I still put flowers in my window now. Now that I am safe. I just want to let people know.”

“I kinda liked doing the dishes. It was like my secret hideout, away from her watching me all the time. I scrubbed away at those plates. The dirtier the were the better. I could take my hate and anger out on them.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I always bought a card for my daughter, even though I couldn’t send it. Not knowing where she was, I kept it hidden away. He wouldn’t let me stay in touch with her after my ex took her.

But one day, I’ll find out where she is. Then, I’ll give her all those cards, just to show her I never stopped thinking about her.”

“I remember having this page in my notebook where I scribbled ‘NOT REAL’ over and over again. He kept insisting I’d done things I hadn’t, trying to make me believe I was a bad person. I scribbled so hard, my pen went through the page.

It was like all the shouting inside me found its way out onto that paper.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“One morning, I walked into the bathroom to shave, and there it was, written in bold letters on the mirror: ‘BITCH’. He knew I’d see it, every morning, without fail. It didn’t happen just once, he did it every day, in places he knew I couldn’t avoid.

Seeing those words staring back at me, mocking me, was worse than if he’d just said it to my face.”

“She always appeared wherever I went, and I couldn’t figure out how. Later, I found out she’d put tracking software on my phone.

I felt trapped, like I couldn’t escape no matter where I went. It was like she was watching me all the time.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He was a control freak. He made schedules for everything, even when I could eat or sleep. I was too scared to do anything differently.

I didn’t have the freedom to choose for myself.”

“I was at work one day when she sent me a photo of a clown. It was not to be funny, but she said it look like me.

She was always saying bad things about how I dressed. I couldn’t forget it. I kept thinking, maybe other people think same. It made me feel bad, like I was not good enough.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He always threaten to tell immigration about me and send me back, even though I here legally. Just the idea of being reported would mess up my job and seeing my kids. He know this, but he don’t care. He just want to hurt me, to make me feel scared and powerless.

It feel like he got all the power, and I can’t do nothing.”

“I wanted to apply for a job, nothing fancy, just working at the local shop. But he wouldn’t let me. He kept insisting that I should stay at home. All I wanted was to do something, to meet people, but he shut down all those possibilities.

It felt like he was holding me back from living my life, from being independent.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“That photo album meant everything to me. He cut me off from everyone, even my own kids. And that album, it was my only escape, my link to happier times. But now, even that feels tainted, like I’m losing everything that mattered to me.

It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.”

“She had this diary, but it wasn’t for remembering fun stuff or happy timess. Nope, it was all about the times I messed up. Every little mistake or thing I did wrong, she’d write it down like it was some kind of crime.

It felt like she never missed a chance to point out my mistakes, but when it came to the good stuff? Forget about it. It’s like it never even happened.

It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right, always walking on eggshells around her.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“The bastard made a sign out of cardboard, labeling me with the word ‘SLUT’, and forced me to parade down the street carrying it. I was so mad, humiliated. All because I spoke to another man? I couldn’t believe the how cruel he could be.

After that, I was too ashamed to even leave the house. How dare he treat me like that? It was like he was trying to strip away everything. I won’t let him get away with it.”

“He would put sleeping powder in my drink. I’d wake up confused, not knowing what happened or where I was. Sometimes, I’d also feel pain, you know, down there. Maybe it was a good thing in a way, because I wouldn’t remember what he did.

But it still left me feeling violated and scared.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He’d go days without speaking to me, always with the radio blaring. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he’d just crank up the volume, drowning out my voice.

He never said why, just completely ignored me like I didn’t even exist.”

“He hid my tablets, so I had to ask for them. Sometimes, I even had to beg. He knew how important they were for me.

Without them, I’d be in pain. It was like he had control over me. It made me feel powerless.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I was out chilling with my mates when my phone rang. It was her, and she sounded really messed up, saying she’d hurt herself if I didn’t come back.

When I got back, I found her in the bathroom, knives lying there like some horror movie. It freaked me out big time.

After that, I felt like I had to stay close, like I was responsible for her. I couldn’t even hang out with my friends without worrying about what might happen when I wasn’t there.”

“He would just sit there, glued to the TV screen. I tried to kiss him, but he didn’t even react. It was like I didn’t exist to him.

He made me feel invisible, unimportant, and unwanted.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He would make me drink, sometimes beer, other times something stronger, depending on his mood. I learned that even if I didn’t drink, he still got what he wanted.

Sometimes, it felt easier to just go along with it and numb myself, to be out of it rather than feel what he was doing.”

“He boiled a pan of water on the hob. He kept telling me that I had to stop upsetting him. He said it over and over again, but wouldn’t say what I was doing.

Then he called the dog over and held it near the water. He kept telling me to stop upsetting him.

I couldn’t. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“He didn’t even bother to ask. He just went ahead and sold our home, uprooting us from everything I knew. We left behind my friends and family, the people I relied on for support and love. It hurt so much.

He called it our “new life,” but it felt like he was tearing me away from everything that mattered. It left me feeling lost and alone, I had nobody else but him.”

“I began receiving cards in the mail from my friends, filled with well wishes for a speedy recovery. I was so confused, I wondered why they thought I was sick. Turns out he had told all my friends that I was sick and couldn’t see them.

It was like he was isolating me from the people who cared about me, manipulating them into believing his lies.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“I had this book where I wrote down everything she did, like my own secret diary. But she found it, and she burned it all. All my words, all my proof, gone.

I felt so small, like I couldn’t do anything to stop her or prove what she did.”

“I would run and sit by the river. One day, I’ll be free, one way or another. Somewhere where nobody can hurt me.

Life is just too hard here. I don’t want to be here anymore.

I don’t want to be anywhere anymore.”

UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition
UNSEEN ECHOES - Objects of Domestic Abuse | Photography Project & Exhibition

“We would go places, and she’d tell me I wasn’t there, that I imagined it. One time, we went to the beach, and I had a photo of the sunset.

She said she took it to show her friend because I wasn’t there. But I knew I was. Did I really make it up? It made me doubt my own memories, like I didn’t know what was real.”

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, help is available. Domestic abuse impacts everyone, regardless of gender.

For women, Women’s Aid offers refuge accommodation, outreach support, and confidential helplines. They provide guidance, safety planning, and emotional support.

Men facing domestic abuse can contact helplines like the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men. These services offer confidential support, advice, and information tailored to men experiencing abuse.

Remember, you’re not alone. Reach out to Women’s Aid or the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men for support and empowerment towards a life free from abuse.

Women’s Aid: https://www.womensaid.org.uk

Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men: https://mensadviceline.org.uk

WE NEED YOUR HELP

Help us continue raising awareness of social challenges!

On average, it costs £3,000 to produce each project, much of which is covered by grant funding. However, we still need additional funds. If each person viewing this project online donated just £3.50 (the cost of a coffee) we could cover the cost of the whole project.

Could you spare the cost of a cup of coffee?

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