A woman said she was left with no choice but to intervene after overhearing a worrying conversation at a restaurant.

Liberty Guy was enjoying a meal out with her husband when she witnessed a woman berating her partner who looked an "utterly a broken man" at a neighbouring table, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The 34-year-old said she observed "controlling" and "coercive" behaviour with the woman "shaming her husband" for the entire meal.

Having suffered similar behaviour in her past, Liberty felt she had to step in, however after asking the victim if he was okay his partner then turned on her, telling Liberty to "f**k off" and launching into a verbal onslaught.

She said: "She told me to 'f***k off' and just gave me a whole tirade of verbal abuse, to which I went, 'Well, that proves to me exactly the type of person you are, that you're willing to behave like that to a perfect stranger'.

"For the entire meal, this woman was just shaming her husband, and just saying the most horrendously cruel and nasty things that I've ever heard from somebody to their spouse."

Liberty added: "I was very surprised that she was behaving like that in public in front of people, where people could hear her.

"It made all of us in the restaurant feel very uncomfortable, because she was being very, very loud. She was being very aggressive with members of staff and other restaurant users.

"Some people actually commented to me that they felt quite unsafe around her because she was quite volatile."

Liberty, who works with vulnerable people, said she felt compelled to say something due to her own experience with abuse earlier in her life.

She said: "I went over to the table and I spoke to her husband and I said, 'You do realise that it's not acceptable for somebody to speak to you like that. What she's doing is illegal and she can be prosecuted for it because it's abuse'."

Liberty Guy, 34, felt compelled to speak up after witnessing "coercive" and "controlling" behaviour.
Liberty Guy, 34, felt compelled to speak up after witnessing "coercive" and "controlling" behaviour.

The Wallasey woman added: "I can't, in good conscience, let somebody else go through what I've gone through without stepping in.

"When that woman first started behaving the way she was behaving, I felt - they call it being triggered now, but what it is, is it's your PTSD coming out.

"My heart started going really, really fast. I got really, really bad palpitations because it reminded me of the abuse that I'd gone through."

Therapy helped Liberty heal the wounds of her abuse and she hopes to start a clinical psychology masters next September so she can help survivors of abuse.

She said the incident made her feel "helpless" even though she had challenged the woman's behaviour.

Liberty said: "I felt like, although I'd challenged her behaviour, I felt like I'd left somebody in a very vulnerable position, and I wasn't able to do anything else.

"If I'd called the police, the problem is that, unless the gentleman wants to say, 'Yes, I am being abused', there's nothing that the police can do.

"So I just felt very helpless because, other than what I said to him and informed him of, one, his rights and, two, what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour, there was nothing else I could do.

"I felt guilty leaving him with this woman, to be honest."

Liberty said she wanted to raise awareness of the incident because she wants people to be more aware of male victims of domestic abuse.

An estimated 3.6% of men (757,000) were victims of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020, compared with 7.3% of women (1.6 million), according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

She added: "You need to be aware of the signs of it. So if somebody behaving in a belittling or degrading manner to you, saying things that are making you feel shamed.

"Obviously there's a difference between criticism and abuse, but if somebody is belittling you and saying horrible things to you all the time, and you feel like they are making your self-esteem lower, or you feel like you're getting very depressed when you're around them, I would say you need to seek help.

"The problem with emotional abuse is that it's so hard to prove, because words are so easy to come out of our mouths and it's so easy to say things to people.

"It's very easy to miss the little signs sometimes."