At the height of fame for this star from BBC’s The Voice, no one knew that off the stage and behind closed doors, Megan Reece was a survivor whose talent had been overshadowed by the dark clouds of an abusive relationship for years. She shares her compelling story of how support from The Haven was crucial to her survival and transformation.
I am an introvert, despite what people might think, because I was once a contestant on a popular TV show. Life had its ups and downs, but I always found solace in the simple things. Now, living in the heart of a rural area, I’ve discovered the beauty of a serene and perfect life. I’m inherently creative and deeply passionate about my work as a writer and performer, but I also cherish being a homebody, relishing the moments spent with my children, and enjoying sunsets and picnics—life’s priceless pleasures.
As most of my twenties went by, I had found myself growing more introverted, a consequence of being subjected to years of domestic abuse and violence. I was trapped in an abusive relationship for far too long, and you never truly understand the extent of the damage until you break free. Fear consumed me—fear of disrupting the peace, fear for my life, fear for my children’s safety. I believed that the only way to shield them was to escape the violent relationship I was in, to flee from the horrors that had overtaken our lives. But even after the relationship ended, the nightmare spiralled further out of control.
The police, after countless calls and convictions, finally pointed me towards a lifeline I had never heard of before—The Haven. No one had ever mentioned such a place, a true haven for survivors like me. The moment I dialled their number, it was like an angel’s embrace. That first meeting offered me a ray of hope that whispered, “We believe you, and we’re here to help.” It felt alien to have that support after years of silence, but they knew what to do, and it felt like the dawn of a new life. The Haven was instrumental in helping me break the cycle of abuse. I will forever be indebted to them for their support.
With their guidance, I sought and obtained an urgent non-molestation order, a shield for me and my children, a boundary my abuser had never faced before. It made me feel safer, but he persisted, attempting to push those boundaries. Counselling was provided and although it only scratched the surface, every bit of support was invaluable during those trying times. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of seeking therapy and education and encourage others to do so.
The abuse had begun just four months into the relationship, but even before that, there were warning signs. He was the master of love bombing, showering me with affection in grand gestures that made me feel uneasy but grateful. I was a vulnerable single mother, and his attention, while intoxicating, left me wary. He’d spend extravagantly, later revealing the debt he’d accrued to win me over.
The abuse wasn’t just confined to me; my children suffered too. One was chastised harshly for bedwetting, creating a traumatic cycle that haunted their childhood. My other child was left concussed from a violent blow to the head. At that point I knew something had to change. I had already lost babies to premature birth and miscarriages due to the abuse I endured. I was not about to lose another child.
When social services asked about any physical abuse towards my children, I was paralysed with fear, afraid that my children might be taken from me. I still hold onto some shame for not telling them immediately. But every day, I was doing my utmost best to protect them the best way I could. It’s impossible to fully comprehend unless you’ve walked in these shoes.
Desperate for a way out, I suggested a temporary break, which he interpreted as a short separation. I had no intention of welcoming him back, but he’d break in or manipulate the children into letting him in. He hovered like a shadow, threatening harm to us and constantly instilling fear. Police intervention often did little for the situation, leaving me frantic and worried for my children’s safety.
Obtaining the non-molestation order allowed me to keep some distance, a common coping strategy for victims like me. He maintained contact with the children, at times leaving marks on them, but I felt powerless to prove anything. The tension between us was relentless, and I was trapped in what felt like a never-ending nightmare.
To cope, I threw myself into my singing career, becoming a workaholic to numb the pain. Three years later, I had the opportunity to appear on The Voice. It was a bittersweet experience, I made some wonderful memories but my success enraged my abuser. I felt pressured to relinquish my achievements, but fate intervened when I fell ill with meningitis.
Going through the family court was a harrowing experience. I had to prove my worth as a parent while facing my abuser. It was traumatising, and I felt re-victimised by the system. My anxiety was overwhelming, but I couldn’t express it for fear it would be used against me. I often cried myself to sleep at night, but thankfully, I had an advocate from The Haven to support me through the court hearings. The system felt broken, allowing my abuser to exploit its weaknesses.
Following my son’s tragic passing, I had suffered a breakdown. I had suppressed my emotional state just to get through each day, until one day I couldn’t cope anymore. Beneath the surface, the tension remained, and the cycle of abuse persisted. The pattern was clear — love bombing followed by an extended build-up phase, leading to exhaustion and more violence, and then the cycle would start anew. During the darkest moments, I’d wish for that brief love-bombing phase because it offered a respite from the torment, if only for a short moment.
I had become a silent, broken shell of myself, I begged to be under the care of a crisis team, my mental health deteriorated as I couldn’t find a way out. Reality became a blurry haze, doubt clouded every thought, and he seized upon my vulnerability. In court, my previous breakdown was weaponised against me by my abuser and used to label me as an unfit parent.
My journey came full circle when I became an ambassador for The Haven. Going public was a pivotal step, despite the backlash it triggered from my abuser. It exposed his actions, and his loud reaction to my speaking out lead to legal consequences that finally ended the cycle of abuse for myself and my children. Being an ambassador allowed me to give back and support others on their journeys. From this experience, I’ve learned valuable lessons, like the impact of trauma on the brain and the importance of commitment to healing. Prolonged abuse keeps our bodies in constant fight-or-flight mode, and once we’re safe, our bodies react in all kinds of ways.
I feel blessed every day, grateful for the safety and well-being of my children. Healing is ongoing, but I stand in a place of strength. Fear no longer dominates my life. I feel safe, able to speak the truth freely, knowing where to turn if help is needed. I’m so excited about where we are now.
My goal for the future is to empower and advocate for people, help them break free from abusive cycles. With my voice and experiences, I hope to make a difference. I want others to know that healing and recovery are possible. My commitment to supporting The Haven remains and I am excited about performing at the anniversary ball! I’m eager to become more involved in the community, as there are countless ways to make a difference. I hope to create a positive impact wherever I can. I walked through the toughest of times and came close to giving up, but support is available and there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark it may seem.
I hope that through studying for a degree in criminology and law, I will be equipped for a great career working to end violence against women and girls. I believe it’s crucial to understand the law to advocate for reform and support those in need.
Music will always hold a special place in my heart. It remains a therapeutic outlet for me. I’ve performed for others, but now it’s time to focus on my own well-being, to put myself first—a healthy choice for this stage in my life. I’ve learned that abuse takes many forms, and everyone deserves support, not just those who’ve experienced physical violence. Emotional pain can be just as debilitating and knowing that The Haven is available to people if things ever get difficult, for mental and emotional support is a tremendous relief.