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Reclaiming Yourself From Domestic Abuse by Kitty Nolan

One in three women worldwide experience Domestic Abuse at some point in their lives; I am one of them.  There are many terms to describe what we experience:  Gender Based Violence (GBV); Domestic Violence (DV); Wife Battering; Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG); I’ve opted to use the term Domestic Abuse because it covers many of the behaviours women, and men, experience.  Firstly, domestic describes the running of the home, or family relations, and is synonymous with private; private or intimate relationships are the grounds for this abuse.

I use ‘abuse’ instead of violence because it covers physical violence, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, power and controlling behaviour, isolation, and spiritual abuse.  Some victims experience some of these behaviours, many experience all of them. Women and men experience abuse differently. For one thing, men are more likely to murder their partners than women are, and women generally…

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poem: women of conflict

Asif khan


Is he dead?

Why don’t you answer me?

 Answer me!

 So I may answer my daughter

Who questions

When would papa come?

Whom you dragged from the decorated bed,

While I followed you weeping for mercy in my bridal outfit

Kicking me in the womb after labeling me as a whore,

 I fell on the ground while you took him into the jeep

 Felling pity upon my bridal apparels,

The army general dragged me inside the room,

And forced himself upon me

My ears lobes bled,

As he put his murderous black fingers inside my earrings

Then silenced me,

by putting his sweaty hand upon my screaming mouth

I couldn’t take him off me,

As he was too heavy and strong  

He almost ripped the flesh from my clumsy chest,

While I kept screaming whole night

This is our life,

We are the women of conflict

We are…

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I’m an oppressed Muslim woman?

Here is an important piece from a Moslem woman who declares Islam is not the problem for women, culture is. I agree with her totally. The teachings of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism,Sikhism and Buddhism have peace and love at their centre. All are lead by men in the main, because of culture. Christians, Jews and Buddhists have women leaders, so things are beginning to change. Women are kept down in religious institutions through power and control, the same mechanisms at the heart of Domestic Abuse. One will not change without the other changing. For world peace to be achieved, we must demand peace at home.

Seeking Words

Earlier this week it was International Women’s Day and like all other days – Mother’s day, Father’s day, Independence day – it was difficult to acknowledge the day let alone engage in any discussions.

You see, my problem isn’t with the day nor with those who celebrate it, my problem is with the fight. Commemorative days are one out of 365 days, but the fight…well, the fight is relentless. The fight doesn’t take a break on any of those days. The fight means that even when women are encouraged to take a day off to raise awareness about their plight, so many simply can’t afford to. I feel perpetually exhausted by repetitive rhetoric but this won’t stop me from writing about it – so here goes.


In 1990, Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack in which she compiled a list of all the invisible privileges…

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Blog Housekeeping



I’m spending today and tomorrow doing some housekeeping on the blog, adding categories to posts, and deleting some that don’t fit the themes I’ve been exploring.  I’m also going to adjust my blog name.  I’ll be continuing with the Healing Meditations on Monday 14th August.  I do hope the changes help when looking around the blog; if not please get in touch.

Sending out peace to you.


Posted in self care, Uncategorized

Self Care (iii)


It’s the end of the day, children are in bed, and there is a pile of ironing to do before tomorrow.  You are drained from a day at work, activities with the children, and you know you have a meeting with your lawyer tomorrow.  You split from your abusive husband three months ago, and he has moved in with his latest girlfriend.  He returns to the family home regularly to see the children, sometimes these visits end up in an argument, but you know he won’t stay.  You know he hasn’t been responding to lawyers letters about the divorce, but you are determined to move things along as quickly as possible, because you want your own space, and your husband has right of access to the family home until you are divorced.  Do you do the ironing and plan questions for tomorrow’s meeting, or do you take some time out for yourself?  Please take time out for yourself!

Call a Friend

It’s time to sit down and call someone you are close with; your best friend, your sister, a neighbour, or a friend far away.  You can phone, email, Skype or FaceTime, depending on how you feel.

I well recall the difficulty I had picking up the phone to chat when I was feeling overwhelmed.  Abusive relationships can leave us feeling isolated, and worthless – I didn’t have anything interesting to say, so why would anyone want to listen to me? This question is one of many falsehoods absorbed from our abusers.  They didn’t want to listen to us, and didn’t want us having friends who did.  They would belittle our friends and question their motives, but we need to listen to ourselves and pay attention to the connection that brought us together with our friends.


We all have intuition, it’s not magic; it’s a way for us to know what is right for us.  Being in a relationship with an abuser strips back intuition, because the ground below us keeps shifting, and we are constantly responding to crises – we don’t have the space to listen to our own inner voice.  Now, in a space free of abuse, we can reclaim that intuition, and decide who it feels good to call, and pick up the phone.  Friends, sisters, aunts, will be thrilled to hear from you, and happy to share their news too.  We want to make this a time to relax, and feed our inner selves, so think about what you want to say before keying in the number; this gives the opportunity to lead the conversation in a positive direction. There can be much to share with trusted people about the aftermath of an abusive relationship, including the legal and financial elements – you probably don’t want every conversation to be about this, though.  I had an aunt who became a parent figure when, as a young adult, my parents died ; she was amazing, always letting me decide what I wanted to share at any given time.


FaceTime and Skype are ways to have video calls with friends and family, and a good way to stay in more personal touch with those you don’t see often.  Obviously it depends on who you are contacting; my aunt wouldn’t have known what to do on a video call!  I don’t do it enough, partly because I dislike how I look on the screen!  I’m always happy to see the person I am calling, but, because of the position of the camera on my laptop, I look like I have 3 chins, and don’t recognise myself, which I find distracting – I keep trying to alter my position!  I’m middle-aged, and late to the ball;  I know younger folk are much more at home with this form of contact.

When contacting friends and family overseas, I prefer email for letters, and Facebook for quick messages.  We want to spend some quality time, so I find email is the way to go – I like the anticipation of a response, too.


(This picture is clearly not me; I never have time to do my nails!)

During the most difficult times in my divorce, my closest friend was living overseas.  I remember the mixed feelings I had about her family moving away for two years.  I was excited about the opportunities for them, but had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because I wouldn’t see her for so long.  As it happened, we were in constant touch by email, and the occasional phone call.  We instinctively knew when the other was having a difficult time, and we would be in contact.  Her letters were full of detail about her experiences in her new country; I loved hearing about her adventures with her children. I kept her in touch with what was happening in my life and with home; my letters helped her feel connected.  Even in our most turbulent times, we have stories to tell, and something to give to others.

Remember, don’t let fear keep you from staying in contact with those you care about, and care about you.


I hope this post has been helpful; if so please share with your friends.  I look forward to hearing your responses, and suggestions.

Sending out peace to you.

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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

Posted in Feminist Theology, Uncategorized

Teresa of Avila influenced Descartes …

The 17th century thinker René Descartes is seen as the father of modern philosophy: A man who was entirely original, whose work marked a clear divide from earlier thinkers, and who laid the foundation for modern thought with his focus on self-knowledge of the individual mind. But that narrative is “unquestionably false,” says Christia Mercer, a […]

via One of Descartes’ most famous ideas was first articulated by a woman — Quartz