A cancer survivor who was beaten and raped by her boyfriend has urged victims of domestic abuse "not to suffer in silence".
The victim thought she had found her perfect man when she was introduced to her abuser by a friend last year.
But within months he was to make her life a living hell and became controlling, abusive and violent towards the woman he claimed to love.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reason, was even forced to quit jobs she loved because of the abuse she faced from him.
Before they had met she had a breast removed in a battle with cancer but was told by him she was "only half a woman", "a freak of nature" and was "lucky to have him".
The victim has revealed how she had convinced herself he cared for her before the abusive relationship came to an abrupt end following a brutal attack in her home.
The mother was left unconscious after being repeatedly punched, kicked and stamped on while her boyfriend was still wearing boots.
She was found by police in a crumpled heap on the floor and an ambulance was called to take her to hospital while the attacker was placed under arrest.
The thug was charged with rape and assault and jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty at Newcastle Crown Court.
Now, the victim has bravely spoken out to urge men and women who are trapped in an abusive relationship to "not to suffer in silence" and contact police.
She said: "I am alive and I have survived so I have to talk about it.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve, I have so much love to give and he took advantage of that. He used me for money, for sex, for a home and I confused that with love.
"He took all my self-confidence away, isolated me from my friends and family and in the end he made me think a life without him was impossible.
"I used to be really outgoing, I was really close with my friends and family and I had a job I loved – he took all that away from me and I let him do it.
"There were times when I had gone to police but I would always withdraw the complaint or refuse to go to court because I didn't think anything would happen.
"He told me that the police would never believe me and that he had this great solicitor. He said I was crazy and everyone knew I was crazy. It got to a point where I thought it would be easier to die.
"When he was eventually arrested for that final assault I knew enough was enough. But I was still amazed that the police believed me.
"The support they gave me was overwhelming and when they turned round and said 'we are going to help you' I just burst into tears.
"I know there will be women out there today who are in the exact same position that I was. I want you to know that there is a way out.
"Don't suffer in silence, don't let it reach a point where you are raped or beaten to a pulp in front of your children. Don't let them kill you because you don't think you will be believed.
"I have been as low as you can get and I want to stand up today and tell you that things can get better if you tell somebody what is going on."
Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Hall, head of Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, praised the victim's bravery and said she is "an inspiration to victims of abuse".
He said: "It takes an amazing amount of courage for someone to step forward and tell the world about what has happened to them.
"This victim has had her life destroyed and her words will hopefully be an inspiration to men and women who are trapped in abusive relationships – her story shows that there is a way out.
"Every single day we come into contact with victims of domestic abuse who are too terrified to leave their partners or support any police prosecution.
"We will do everything we can to take action against violent offenders and bring them to justice but we want victims to know that we are here for you and we can help.
"However, it is not just down to them to bring an end to this type of offending. Everyone has a role to play whether it is talking about it among friends or supporting someone you know to be a victim.
"Any form of abuse in unacceptable and we will do everything we can to put perpetrators like this before the courts and get victims the support they need."
Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC has also praised the victim for coming forward and has encouraged anyone “trapped in an abusive relationship” to listen to her story.
Dame Vera said: “There is no stronger message than a victim coming forward to talk about their experience and this woman is a real inspiration to others who may find themselves trapped in a relationship.
“In many abusive relationships victims also suffer sexual abuse and what happened to this woman was horrific. I am glad the perpetrator has now been put behind bars.
“We pride ourselves on safeguarding vulnerable victims of crime and if anyone is trapped in an abusive relationship I would implore you to listen to this woman’s story and contact police.”
For further information and advice search Victims First Northumbria or Northumbria Police online.