If you haven’t heard of it, then make sure you read this: MILLION WOMEN RISE If you can’t make the date then help some one else who can but who doesn’t have the money to go. In my own journey on my path in Life-I don’t think I have met one person who doesn’t know someone or hasn’t themselves been affected by Domestic/ Gender violence, usually perpetrated by men. There is a discussion and place to study increasing reports of violence being perpetrated by women to men. This post is not the place.However, I’m do acknowledge that this is happening . It has been quite hard for me to think about what I am going to put down in this post. I think I am so hesitant: is because I’m scared people don’t want to hear another sob story of another woman who goes on about her woes with living or experiencing violence with a man.
I have just re- read what I have just typed. That is the exact kind of thinking that keeps the cycle of abuse continuing. This has made my mind up to tell you a part of my experiences with Domestic violence in all it’s shapes and forms. My story is not a sob story and neither is any other woman’s. My story is another to add to the brewing pot. Millions of pounds has been spent on Domestic violence in the U.K and a portion of that has been spent on domestic violence campaigns in the place I live. I know this because I have seen the slick posters stuck to the back of door in public toilet cubicles in my community. This sounds grim and it is. I don’t see great changes in attitudes from the people employed by the government to look after a community.
I became a target of Gender violence and instead of getting the support I needed. I was questioned by local authorities. The police treat my case like it was a bunch of kids causing havoc in a sweet shop. ‘Just move along. nothing to see here.’
No! This is not enough. There is never an excuse to abuse a woman. Never.
I grew up wanting a different kind of relationship. The first time I was abused by a man was when I was 3-5 years old. Was I to blame for leading on a man with my obvious coquettish behaviour? ( heavy sarcasm here) No, I was innocent not playing a girl trying to be innocent !
In my teens, I always attracted boys and men who demeaned me. It could be as subtle as saying they want one thing and then doing another. One example one man thought was acceptable was to dump me repeatedly and then ring me or text me – harass me with his drunk talk about wanting to get back together with me. Effectively playing mind games with me and my emotions.
Another man I went out with tried to control me with money. He was a mild meek man. He did not look at all like your ‘average ‘woman beater. Here is the news we all should know by now,they don’t have one look and they don’t need to inflict visible bruises or marks. I think a lot of people still have this attitude of ‘well it can’t be that bad cos she stays with him’. Or ‘what has she said or done to deserve the black eyes?’ as way of summing up Gender Violence.
Women survivors of Gender violence are vulnerable and they can learn to switch on their bullshit /bad guy radar. Organisations that facilitate groups like THE FREEDOM PROGRAMME (click on the link to find out more) deserve more airtime than it gets.
I always told myself that if I ever found myself in a relationship and a man hit me I would walk away. I was quite firm and adamant with my stance on this subject.
Until of course, a man did hit me. We had an argument. He felt challenged and proceeded to punch me several times in the face. Yes, I looked a mess.
What did I actually do when he assaulted me?
I ran after him. He ran up the stairs dived into bed refusing to look at me. He cried and I consoled him and told him we could work it out. It would all be okay. I was unknowingly pregnant that night – 7 weeks gone- pregnant. This did not stop him from punching me in the stomach when I was seven months pregnant. It seemed to add fuel to his agenda.
I suppose I acted this way because I didn’t see the early warning signs for what they were for. I didn’t see the subtle manipulation for what it was. I didn’t see his sulky moods,when I wanted to go out and make friends at uni, were his way of isolating me. I didn’t see the impact the small comments had on me,that slowly chinked away at my already vulnerable self esteem. – ‘Elephant feet’. ( this is a perfect example. Most people who read this might not think this is an insult. I’m being far too sensitive). Yes, I am sensitive. Let me tell you what you don’t know. He also knew I had a severe Eating disorder. Sensitive? I don’t need a reason to be sensitive. I do expect love and respect form a man/partner.
I didn’t think I could be sexually abused and assaulted by someone I chose to be with. Yes. It does happen. A lot.
I didn’t see how intricate his web was until I was too tangled in it. I had lost all perspective. He was so strategic in his method of abuse. Sometimes when I think about that relationship I am repulsed by the thought that went into his many ways of degrading me.
I left the relationship. with nowhere to live, no friends, fed up family members and a daughter in care, with a self-esteem in the minus deficit column, more than it ever had been. I was in crisis mode with my mental health. I used alcohol and overdosing on prescription medication to self medicate.
The small intricacies of my story is not the aim I am getting at in this post. I’m giving you insight into a few of my experiences. I stumbled upon empowering groups like the freedom program and found myself again. I learned how to make myself less vulnerable. I learned from my experience. Every child/women should be able to access support for any length of time that it takes them to reclaim their true selves.
Save the date – every year. 5 th March MILLION WOMEN RISE– wear red and unite. 2016 will be no different.
This year My local women centre have organised a coach to go from a very small town where I live -to London, U.K. to stand amongst thousands of other women and say NO MORE! no excuses. GENDER VIOLENCE IS unacceptable . no buts…
Not everyone can afford to pay the £10 to get on the coach and that is why I’m writing this post. I’m not going to ask you. I think you already know what needs to be done – I’ve booked my seat and paid for another lady who can’t. I don’t know her name or what she looks like because the only thing I think is relevant is that we all bleed the same colour and that is what counts. This is a global event. What are you going to do on the 5 th march 2016? Where are you going to be? I know where I am going to be.
What is happening in yours? Nothing -will be inspired and get something going. The Million women rise website has loads of ideas to get involved. Get something going in your area. Wherever you live. Whatever continent. whatever city.
Do something ‘crazy’ ! Something you have never done before. Make the leap.