TikTok saved my life and made me realise the 'nice guy' was abusing me

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Bekah grew concerned after spotting similarities between her situation and the domestic abuse stories she was narrating on TikTok.

A Liverpool content creator realised she was in an abusive relationship after making TikTok videos. Bekah Smith, 34, started her TikTok channel in May 2023, narrating true crime stories for her 38.3k followers. But, she grew concerned after spotting similarities between her situation and the domestic abuse stories she was sharing.

The mum soon realised she was being terrorised by partner of three-years, 23-year-old Karl Draper, who was stopping her going out, monitoring her social media, and even strangled her. “I realised I was like these women I share stories about. It really clicked for me,” she explained.

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Bekah met Draper through mutual friends online during the national lockdown in early December 2020. The pair exchanged numbers and began texting, before meeting-up a few weeks later, and Bekah thought he was the ‘nice guy’. However, “coercive and controlling” behaviour began shortly after Draper moved into her Kirkby home.

She said: “He was horrendous from the moment he moved in – there were so many red flags. My friends and family didn’t know how bad it was – I didn’t realise either.”

Things turned violent towards Bekah in April 2021, when Draper kicked their dog, grabbed her by the throat and punched a hole in the wall. After discovering she was pregnant three months later, Draper accused her of cheating and throttled her again – throwing her onto the bed.

“I was constantly on edge but I felt emotionally blackmailed into staying with him,” Bekah said. “I lost a baby before, and I was petrified I’d have a miscarriage when he attacked me. I often made excuses to go to hospital for check-ups so I could get away from him and check the baby was ok."

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Their baby arrived prematurely in March 2022 and spent a few days in the neonatal ward. Bekah hoped they could focus on the child, but Draper lashed out at her five days after giving birth, bursting her c-section scar. Later that month, he sent her a voice note and threatened she would “end up in the morgue”.

Bekah began documenting her injuries, and saving voice notes, and found the courage to leave Draper in September 2023. After he climbed in her window and threatened to hurt himself, she called the police and he was quickly arrested. Discussing how TikTok helped her escape the abuse, Bekah said: “I think my TikTok account saved my life. I always avoided doing domestic violence stories – I think I knew deep down it was because I was in one. But making the videos really gave me the confidence to look at my own relationship.''

Bekah met Karl in 2020. Image: Bekah Smith/SWNSBekah met Karl in 2020. Image: Bekah Smith/SWNS
Bekah met Karl in 2020. Image: Bekah Smith/SWNS | SWNS
Bekah Smith, 34, started her TikTok channel in May 2023, narrating true crime stories for her 38.3k followers. But, she grew concerned after spotting similarities between her situation and the domestic abuse stories she was sharing. Image: SWNSBekah Smith, 34, started her TikTok channel in May 2023, narrating true crime stories for her 38.3k followers. But, she grew concerned after spotting similarities between her situation and the domestic abuse stories she was sharing. Image: SWNS
Bekah Smith, 34, started her TikTok channel in May 2023, narrating true crime stories for her 38.3k followers. But, she grew concerned after spotting similarities between her situation and the domestic abuse stories she was sharing. Image: SWNS | SWNS

Draper pleaded guilty to five counts of ABH and one charge of coercive control at Liverpool Crown Court in February 2024. He was jailed for two years in March 2024 at Liverpool Crown Court and given a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting her.

Bekah said the sentencing was ‘disappointing’ but she is ‘finally hoping to get some closure’. She added: "I'm doing more TikToks, I've even got something in the mix with BBC Three with my channel. “I am doing this so that no other woman will have to endure what I have had to endure."

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