I’ve had a holiday from Twitter to give me the space to regroup and evaluate what I’ve been doing and what direction to take. My focus has been in raising awareness of Violence Against Women and Girls, and sharing stories of such experience. I have also been trying to raise the profile of my book WITNESS, which tells Sarah’s account of violence at the hands of her husband, Jamie, a man she met at college who became a long serving policeman. My book looks at Sarah’s experience, and shares the accounts of folk involved with her during her marriage, including family, friends and professionals. I wrote the book because there are many academic works on this issue, but few accounts from women with the lived experience.
I chose to tell Sarah’s story in WITNESS after a time of raising awareness and finding that women had their own stories and circumstances of abuse, but their abusers had common behaviours, and left behind similar devastation. Women and children suffered from homelessness, chronic health problems including PTSD. Many women were left isolated from their families during the abuse and others lost family support when they left their marriages. Women from faith communities faced confusing teachings about marriage, with the marriage itself being more important than the person suffering. Despite society’s acceptance of divorce, women remained in abusive situations because their partners had power and control over them; this regardless of income or education, because the abuser groomed their victim through flattering and good times, followed incrementally by increasingly severe forms of intimidation, mind games, sexual and physical assaults.
I needed the break from Twitter because the constant flow of violent incidents that I was sharing has left me feeling drained, because, while there is some improvement for those experiencing violence, there is still much to be done, not least re-imagining a way of living that refuses violence in all it’s forms, from smacking children to declaring war. For many years the focus of The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence has been ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World’, which, for me, means starting with myself and healing my pain, then supporting others to do the same.
1 in 3 women worldwide, and 1 in 4 in the UK experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives; the chances are you know someone or are that someone with this experience. My focus for the foreseeable future will be recovery after leaving an abusive relationship. Recovery is not a linear process, so my posts will not be a programme to follow, more an attempt at offering suggestions that will resonate with some and not with others. If it helps, please use it and pass it on.
Sending out peace to you.
#vaw #16 Days of Activism # recovering from vaw