Welsh plus size model Ayesha Perry-Iqbal wants to make people aware that it can happen to anyone.
Ayesha says she was punched and strangled by her ex on multiple occasions
PLUS-SIZE model Ayesha Perry-Iqbal has revealed for the first time how she suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her ex - who would regularly beat and strangle her until she thought she was going to die.
Ayesha, 28 - who hosted Channel 4 show Naked Beach - said she's decided to share her harrowing story in a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence - and how it can affect anyone.
In an exclusive interview with Fabulous Digital, Ayesha bravely told how her ex would regularly punch, kick and choke her for no reason - and fat-shame her with cruel jibes.
"At multiple points I like saw my life flash before me - there were times where I thought he was going to kill me," she said.
"There were times that I would be blacking out and I could feel myself leaving my body.
"I know it sounds really morbid but I'd literally see all of my loved ones flashing before my face.
"I got to that point where I thought 'I'm just going to let this happen - I'm going to let him just kill me'."
On Naked Beach, Ayesha helps contestants develop body confidence by stripping off wearing only body paint
Ayesha, who moved from Newport, south Wales, to Los Angeles seven years ago to attend drama school, now wants people to learn about the signs of abuse - and how even the most confident and successful people can find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship.
The 28-year-old said that everything seemed great until a few months into the relationship when he began to "flip" and "lash out" at the slightest thing.
"I thought that we were really happy at the beginning - we got on really well," she revealed.
"Then one day I went into the shower and forgot to take a towel in - so I came out and had to walk slightly down the hallway to get a towel and I put a bit of water on the floor.
"He just lost it. He just went from zero to a thousand in two seconds - he's walking up and down screaming. I started laughing because I was like, 'you look crazy'.
"And then he charged at me and knocked me down. I'm sitting on his bed and he just grabbed me and threw me across the room and I fell on the floor.
"I had that moment of shock where I'm thinking, 'Whoa, I'm on the floor right now. Did this just happen?'
Ayesha recalls being thrown out of the house barely dressed after getting the floor wet following a shower
"Then he kind of pulls me up, grabs all my stuff and just throws me out of the door barely dressed.
"I realise now looking back that if I had been educated about the signs of abuse and and how things can escalate and how it's a cycle...
"I think at that moment, or even before that moment when there was arguments and he said cutting things to me that you shouldn't say to someone that you care about, I probably would have walked away.
"But because I wasn't educated on it, I didn't understand, I was in so much shock - I stayed.
"And next thing you know, really bad things were happening every couple of days."
As the abuse worsened, Ayesha began to become isolated from her family and friends - and struggled to hide her injuries.
She sustained back and neck injuries, which still affect her today, and was in and out of hospital.
"He used to strangle me a lot," Ayesha recalled. "So I've got like five slipped vertebraes and my neck and my back."
"I still have the injuries so if I sleep wrong I'm in pain again with it.
"So it got to the point where I was constantly in and out of hospital. It was affecting my day to day life that - I couldn't lift my neck up properly and then he was constantly injuring me on top of that.
Ayesha says her ex throttled her to the point it damaged her back
"I would be trying to hide bruises but still going to work and still trying to push my modelling career.
"I started becoming isolated from everyone - not answering the phone to my mum, not talking to my friends.
"I realised, 'Oh wow, there's women in every aspect of life dealing with this type of abuse and they don't tell anyone about it'."
Ayesha remembers one of the worst attacks being when she found out her boyfriend was seeing another girl behind her back and she went to confront him about it.
She received a phone call from the other woman, who revealed she had been in a relationship with her boyfriend for 10 years.
"I found out that he had a whole other girlfriend behind my back.
"He was sleeping with other girls as well, which obviously is not nice for any woman.
Ayesha now wants to help other women in abusive relationships
Naked Beach sees contestants stripping off wearing nothing but body paint
"But to me that was like the minuscule part of everything I'm suffering.
"So I got off the phone to the other girl and I don't know what I was thinking because I went over there to try and talk to him.
"Even though I had every right to come out sideways, I showed up and sat down and just calmly said, 'Hey, I need to talk to you. I need to know what's going on. I've spoken to that girl and he just started screaming, 'What the f**k?'
"He just grabbed me and just started punching me in the face repeatedly.
"When something like that happens to you, it's like you leave your body and you're like looking over the top of it happening to you.
"I couldn't feel any pain because I felt I wasn't in my body but I knew it was that bad and then it was just kind of all a blur but between him strangling me, dragging me and grabbing me.
Ayesha used her experiences to help transform the lives of the contestants on Naked Beach
"The last thing I can remember is, he had me in the other room and he put my hair over my face and his arm around my neck and it happened for so many seconds that's when my life was flashing before me.
"I could see everyone that I loved and I was thought 'I'm going to die right here'. But at that point I was okay with that.
"That's the sick part - because he broke me down so much and I just couldn't take anymore pain I thought I'm just going to let this happen.
"I'm gonna let him just kill me.
Ayesha the host on Channel 4's Naked Beach show
"But then I felt something just kick in, there was this fight and I thought 'No I'm not going to die right here'.
"My arm just went boom and I flung him across the face. He jumped up and I kicked him and I managed to run out of the apartment.
"I was running down the street with my clothes ripped open, a slice across my face, blood down my face, bruises and stuff.
"It was such a blur that I can't even remember what happened after that. I'm pretty sure I went home or went to a friend's house."
Ayesha is a plus size model and TV host
Ayesha finally decided to leave her abuser and was granted a temporary restraining order.
But her ordeal wasn't over as she had to face her ex in court when she applied for a permanent restraining order.
Despite having photos, and witnesses, Ayesha was floored when the judge refused to grant the order - instead telling her ex just to say away from her.
"It was just awful but I decided I needed to change my life and just move forward," she said.
"And because this has happened to me, I thought 'I need to do something now to help other women'.
"I was so lucky. I survived. I managed to get out - so many women don't.
"I think if the signs and things were talked about, and it wasn't a taboo to talk about it, then women would be put in a situation where they could confide in someone and they could get out of the situation."
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