A SURVIVOR of domestic abuse has vowed to set up her own refuge to stop the county's most vulnerable women from being silenced.

Ruth Mojisola Obasa, from Witney, suffered mental and financial abuse for seven years and said the trauma stripped her of her confidence and left her feeling ashamed and scared.

The mother-of-two, who moved to England from Nigeria 20 years ago, wants to use her experience to help rebuild the lives of women who are still suffering at the hands of abusers.

The 45-year-old said: "I was abused for years, both mentally and financially and it broke me down – it took everything from me.

"It left me with no confidence and the feeling that I was completely alone.

"My abuser had a financial hold over me and only used me for economic purposes and would withhold money from me or refuse to support me in the way I supported him.

"Domestic abuse could happen to anyone and I want to help women who were in the same situation as me to restore their confidence and to get their lives back on track."

Ms Mojisola Obasa moved to England from Nigeria in 1996 and lived in Nottingham before coming to Oxfordshire five years ago, where she lives now.

She has already set up her own Nottingham-based charity Jewins Women 2 Women, which works to support and empower women from suffering from disadvantage or abuse.

And now the former teacher has set her sights on setting up the county's first ever refuge with in-house training, which she believes will improve the lives of those who are, or have previously been, abused.

She said: "Abusers will beat you, insult you, push you down and take everything from you but we just can't let them do it. It's got to stop.

"I'm not ashamed of what happened – I am a survivor. But abuse destroys the confidence of women, it doesn't matter how intelligent or ambitious you are, it'll take your happiness away from you.

"I want to liberate woman and I want to want to provide somewhere for these women to go, where they can rebuild their confidence and rebuild their lives."

The charity owner said she wanted to find volunteers, trustees and specialists to come on board with the scheme but added she was struggling to find somewhere to keep the women safe.

She said: "At the moment I'm struggling to find somewhere to house us because landlords keep backing out when they think people's boyfriends or husbands will come knocking.

"But we can't let that stop us from building a sanctuary to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

"I want these women to know they have the capacity to do whatever they want, they can be integrated back into society and they can achieve their dreams."

Spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council Emily Reed said the council would welcome any contribution to tackling domestic abuse.

She said: "We are fortunate in Oxfordshire to have much local expertise and skill in this area and commitment from a range of public and community and voluntary sector agencies to work together to support and safeguard victims and their children.

"The county council is currently leading a strategic review of domestic abuse in Oxfordshire, which will report later this year with recommendations on what future services should look like.

"We welcome anyone wanting to contribute by working in partnership with us to tackle this critically important issue which has such a devastating effect on so many families."