JAHMENE Douglas grew up in total fear.
His dad Eustace tortured and beat his mum until he didn’t even recognise her, eventually Eustace was jailed but it was too late for his brother who took his own life to escape the suffering.
Yet somehow the Asda worker from Swindon found the courage to not only carry on but to become the amazing inspiration he is every time he steps onto that X Factor stage.
In between rehearsals for this week’s show he took time to write this piece for for Cosmopolitian, which they have shared with the Adver, and show his support for their Real Man campaign with Women’s Aid.
Because a Real Man would never hit abuse his family. A Real Man is Jahmene...
“The sad thing about an abusive childhood is that you cut it out," he said.
"My memories come and go, some are good, but most are bad. The one thing that will stick with me until the day I die is my mother’s screams. Hearing her scream for her life but being paralysed with fear, unable to move one muscle.
"We were under such an evil lock down of control that you wouldn't dare move in case one action resulted in something much worse. Nightmares upon nightmares build up from nights of those screams.
"It's one of those things that can't be fully described to the extremity of what it exactly is... you have to feel it to know it and to know what needs to be changed to help others. Domestic violence is in my DNA, it's in who I am. I'd rather be beaten myself than ever hear those screams again.
“My mother is a saint. She would go to hell and back to watch over her children to know that they are okay.
"I honestly believe I would not have survived to be here today if it was not for my mother. Now she is raising money and awareness for domestic violence refuges through Women's Aid who need a lot more support, funding and protection... I just want to help too ... [my mother is] an absolute source of unconditional love and never ending strength.”
“It makes me sick the government doesn’t seem to understand. Budget cuts will mean some refuges and domestic violence services will have to close. There is such little help out there as it is – the people at Women’s Aid are amazing but they need the resources.
"Women, children and men suffer on a daily basis. This is not something that happens once in a blue moon. It's sad the system doesn't understand it.
“The fear CAN leave you. I was living in fear for years after and it was just as bad as having him around. It flips your whole life upside down and steals your focus from life. I've been lucky to have grown from that stage now.
"The fear does leave but only if you help yourself. You have the choice to click self-destruct and live in depression or you can switch it around into rebuilding what was stolen from you. All it takes is time and enthusiasm.... Paint your negative into a positive picture.”
Words courtesy of www.cosmopolitan.co.uk