Ruffley and his local association chairman – you astound me!

 

 

 

 

Suffolk Conservatives had been split over whether David Ruffley should stand down as an MP over his police caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, with his local association chairman saying he did not believe it “in any way qualifies as domestic abuse”.

My heart sinks and I shake my head in dismay. So, so sad. Such a sad society when adults can’t acknowledge what domestic abuse is.

A perpetrator assaulted there victim.

What actually does “qualify as domestic abuse”? Isolation, control, slap, punch, stalking, harassment, death?

How far does it really need to go before people understand “what qualifies as domestic abuse”?

What scares me is that these people are MP’s wanting to rule our country. I shake my head in dismay, what chance of our young people of the future got with ignorant attitudes such as this.

I see this as a clear cut of, men -vs- women, men can abuse the women but women can’t campaign against it?

It feels like we are living back in the cave times!

Speed subsequently told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I reiterate that I do not in any way condone domestic violence. Under CPS guidelines a caution for common assault may be considered ‘where there is no injury or injuries which are not serious.'”

Domestic abuse is not only about physical abuse, that physical abuse goes hand in hand with psychological abuse – if domestic abuse was a specific crime maybe society would actually understand that but then again if society took the time to learn about the complex cycle they would already know that.

“All these things happen behind closed doors. The police were called, and he was given a caution. Neither the police, nor the offended party, actually called for charges. Subsequently, as far as I was concerned, the matter was closed.

“It was a private matter, and as in most domestic issues, I suggest it was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. Nobody really knows what went on.”

Oh please, please, please tell me I didn’t just read that!

Domestic abuse is not a private matter and it is not “six of one and half a dozen of other” but this attitude doesn’t surprise me when adults simply have no idea about domestic abuse. However, another classic sign of victim blaming.

To all the victims out there, male and female, I am so sorry that we live in such a negative, victim blaming and ignorant society where people just want to bury their head in the sand.

Thankfully you can hold your head up high because such people would never last one minute in your shoes.

Dear Government, support and aftercare please

It takes so much courage to speak out that you are a victim of domestic abuse. It is so very hard just to admit it to yourself, let alone anyone else.

Domestic abuse isolates you and you lose all of your trust instincts, family and friends are far between, you are just a shell of your former self, you have been abused at least 35 times before you make that call and when you do make that call, that is your cry for help.

That is the point where you need support, aftercare, to be heard, believed and listened too.

But the sad reality is, victims aren’t getting that.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28511862

“Government turning it’s back on domestic violence victims” doesn’t exactly scream out faith or confidence to any victim of domestic abuse, does it?

These type of headlines increases the number of those that suffer in silent and until we see this radical change the number of those that suffer in silence will increase.

This message is stopping victims from speaking out. That is deeply disturbing.

How can we live in a society that encourages victims to speak out yet don’t support them, take them or what they have encountered seriously enough to give them Justice and perpetrators punishment.

We see it in the media almost on a daily basis, victims murdered by perpetrators – surely that is reason enough to take domestic abuse seriously?

Not only should we be embracing victims that speak out, we should be supporting them. As soon as that call is made support and aftercare procedures are a must.

What must it take for you to see that?

More deaths? More innocent lives ruined and destroyed? You are taking away funding and refuges. You encourage victims to speak out, you don’t take domestic abuse seriously and then you turn your back on those that are vulnerable, those at breaking point, those that are crying out for help, those that could be killed through this epidemic, you choose to turn your back on them.

Have you no shame.

You take everything away from them, yet you expect them to speak out, you expect them to leave the relationship, you expect them to “get over it”, you expect them to live life as though domestic abuse has never been part of there life.

All a victim wants is to be heard, believed, listened too and what every victim deserves, is support and aftercare to help them through the journey of victim to survivor. They can’t, and shouldn’t have to, do this alone.

Apologies and compensation isn’t the issue here, support and aftercare is. An apology is something you give when you accidently knock your mum’s favourite vase off the window sill, not something you expect from someone who has destroyed every ounce of the person you once were.

Compensation doesn’t make the psychological scars go away. Money doesn’t help when you have no self esteem, confidence or worth.

Why should perpetrators be allowed to buy the forgiveness of victims; that is just an insult to victims.

Hopefully, we will see this radical change sooner rather than later.

Please.

Walk for Dreams 21st September 2014

Every single day of my life, I know that I am blessed that I have a healthy daughter.

This year I wanted to do something for charity, to raise money and to try and make a difference to another person’s life.

I had heard about Walk for Dreams and decided this must be the first charity I need to support.

Why?

Promise Dreams is a national registered children’s charity that was launched in 2001 to make dreams come true for seriously & terminally ill children, and their families, across the UK.

Not much more I can add to that, is there really?

Children are the most precious gift in life that we can ever receive. Some children are poorly and I want to help make as much difference as I can for them, that precious, pure and innocent gift.

I am a parent and can’t even begin to image what it must be like to have a terminally ill child, but one thing I do know is, I want to help others and I want to start right now.

But I need your help.

Please, please donate £1 here uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SamBillingham and share the link with your friends and family, so together we can help others and Walk for Dreams of those precious, pure and innocent ill children.

Thank you so much for all of your support.

Love SammieB xx

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce should hang his head in shame!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-28140254

This has made me so very, very angry. The “Justice System” in this country is an absolute disgrace!

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce should hang his head in shame!

We are talking about the death of a woman here. Not only that, a pregnant one and we are still thinking about the perpetrator and how he is feeling! Who the hell gives a damn about him or what he is thinking because I sure as hell don’t!

How on God’s earth can Emma Bennett’s family ever have closure on what has happened?

How is this giving confidence to others who want to speak out. Don’t you see all this has a huge influence on everything! It sends the wrong, completely the wrong message out to perpetrators and tells victims it just doesn’t matter about them.

I am absolutely fuming at this, I really am!

Judge Spruce described the attack as “unpredictable, but with devastating consequences”.

Unpredictable, don’t be so damn absurd! He was in control all the time, just used his dangerous dog as a weapon.

Prosecutors said he told one woman “shut it or I’ll set the dog on you”, and told another, who was pregnant, “What you looking at? Wait until I get the dog and see if you continue looking at me like that.” <<< This tells me he was in control all the time, why couldn't Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce see that either!

I am absolutely appalled at this, I just don't see how we are moving forward at all where domestic abuse is concerned, it's just ludicrously ridiculous.

Horner was banned from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay £800 costs. <<< This is the "Justice" that Emma's family have got and what Emma's life was worth.

I am sad, upset, angry and so, so appalled at this.

He added: "You must live for the rest of his life with the torment of bearing the responsibility for Emma's death." <<< Of course he won't live with this for the rest of his life. He obviously hates women!

You have let this article literally get away with murder knowing he is capable of killing again.

Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce should hang your head in shame because if this happens again, the blood will be on your hands.

Words just fail me.

Our silence is a form of consent

I remember when I first started using Facebook – it seems like forever, but it wasn’t – when a woman sent me a message to my inbox. What I read gave me mixed emotion.

“I saw you outside my house one night and he was giving you a good kicking”.

She was referring to my ex perpetrator. He decided to give me a kicking round the floor one night and this particular lady had witnessed the experience from her living room window.

I was more than likely oblivious to what was happening around me at this time and wouldn’t have noticed if half the world was watching, however, this message not only transported me back to when I was a victim but also made me feel sad in the fact that she didn’t phone the Police.

“I didn’t phone the Police as I didn’t want to get involved”.

She didn’t have to get involved, an anonymous telephone to the Police would have sufficed, after all I didn’t even know someone had witnessed this incident, until she told me.

Did she tell me after all this time because she felt guilty about not doing something?

The thing is, you don’t have to get personally involved if you do witness an act like this. You can be an anonymous witness. No one has to know you have called. Nothing will come back on you.

This isn’t the first, or last, domestic abuse incident that has been or will be witnessed but, honestly, what does prevent onlookers from reporting what they see?

Our silence is a form of consent.

To me, the woman who didn’t report what she saw, was as though she was accepting what was happening to me to be right, to be ok, that it was acceptable for him to do that to me.

After she told me, I felt as though I didn’t matter, it didn’t matter that I was physically abused in the street. I didn’t matter because people saw it and they didn’t do anything about it. So I didn’t matter. That he meant more to society than I because we were allowing this to happen.

Looking back, if one woman witnessed it, what about if children saw it too; this was a strong and powerful message saying that in our society this is acceptable. It’s ok for this to happen in relationships.

Looking back from the outside, in my mind I am now seeing someone lying on the floor being kicked; that is not right, it’s not ok and it is not acceptable. The person on the floor is someones’ son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, a friend. Would we want them to be a victim like this? How would we feel if it *was* a family member or friend of ours and someone watched it happen without reporting it. How would *we* feel then?

The intimidation of society being kept silence, is the perpetrator. So they are in power and control yet again because they know their behavior is stopping others from speaking out, allowing them to continue the abuse.

Our silence is a form of consent but it is also screaming out the wrong message to young people.

Imagine a young person receiving the inbox I did, how do you think they would react? How would they know that adults would help them if they know they sit by and allow this to happen to them?

As a society, we really need to be shouting and screaming about domestic abuse. Awareness is key, the right balance between healthy and unhealthy relationships is so very important and a great starting point and something we can all contribute too.

Most recently, I called the Police as an anon caller.

I heard someone crying out as though in pain, being hurt, “help me, please, someone phone the Police”.

As soon as I heard those words, I froze, my heart started beating loud like a drum, lips suddenly went dry, clamy hands. I was back as that victim again. I was remembering all the times I was being hurt, praying to God that someone would hear my cries and might find it in their heart to phone the Police for me. But that never happened.

I heard those words echoing through my mind again and before I knew it the Police Officer on the line was speaking to me.

My voice was shaking and trembling, the calm voice on the line soon put me at ease and stayed on the line with me as I explained I could hear someone shouting out and it sounded as though they were in pain or being hurt.

As I was talking though I was conscious of the fact that if I was found out I might be in danger, however, when the Police Officer asked me for my name I asked if I could remain anonymous and I was reassured that I could be.

I had to leave the house after that call, I was back walking on those crunchy egg shells and I didn’t want to be alone. I went for a walk and upon my return as I was walking down my road, I saw two Police cars and an Ambulance.

My head was telling me what could happen to me if I was found out but my heart told me I did the right thing. An Ambulance was present. Someone needed medical attention. I did the right thing in calling them.

Before I made that call, I know there were at least 3 passersby who actually walked past where the person was, I wonder if the screamed out or if they stayed silent?

Magaluf “sex game” – Onlookers, goaders and the ones who captured it on video – Hang your head in shame!

This girl has to live with this for the rest of her life – it has gone viral! My concern is, thanks to the person who took the video of it, what impact will that action have on her future; career, relationship, motherhood?

For most of us who are lucky enough to have been on holiday, any holiday will know that the club on site is the main entertainment facility. I know from the holidays we’ve been on – Haven type – the club house has always been full of fun and frolics for parents and children to get into whilst on holiday. Many people willingly take part or often the staff will say things such as “get mum or dad to come up on stage, if they don’t then you know they don’t love you”. I absolutely hate that! Children are vulnerable and are more than likely to believe this so what other option have you got than to do something you might not want to do.

We have this young girl who is the main, and only from what I can see, focus on this holiday in Magaluf.

She was goaded by onlookers, videod and 24 willing men with there shorts pulled down in expectation. Now, I strongly believe this is a deep violation of this victim. Yes I said victim.

Encouragement from the club is what started this off, the girl played the sex game for a free drink, so, in my eyes they should be held responsible for this. They should have put various consequences in place for this particular act; one rule could have been under no circumstances should this be recorded.

She is being branded a “slut” and “whore” but what about the guys who willingly – were they all drunk or were some sober, knowing what they were actually doing – took part in this “sex game” are they not just as bad?

Someone could have stopped this at anytime.

She is a young girl, on holiday, drunk. How many of us have been in that situation? But she was in a vulnerable state, not knowing what she was doing, yet onlookers just stood by and watched.

I believe, taking part in this “sex game” could have made her an easy target. What about if she was followed when she left the club? What about if she didn’t take part in the “sex game” and those 24 lads didn’t like being turned down – no one can justify her safety once she left that club, obviously not if all those people just stood by and watched.

That young girl, is someone’s daughter, sister, niece, friend – now put yourself in her shoes, would you stand by and watch your loved one be ridiculed, used and abused that way?

I sincerely hope this is looked into because this is so very, very wrong.

The emphasis here, as usual, is all about girls and women and how we are the ones who are “sluts” and “whores”, always up for it, do it for anything, but the last time I looked it really does take two to tango.

I know if that was my son I would no be impressed at all by his behaviour, I would be horrifed, mortified and ashamed and if that was my daughter I would be taking the matter further because it was the club’s responsibility, they are the reason this happened to this young girl.

Tempting people into thinking they could win a free holiday – which turned out to be the name of a cocktail – making people do something they wouldn’t normally do is wrong, in my eyes. This act most certainly has branded this girl for life. It’s a shame that people don’t think about such things before they decide on ludicrous “games” to play.

Headlines about this are making out that this girl is a “slut” and a “whore” as though she did it willingly and of her own free will. The onlookers, goaders and those that capitured it on video should hang there head in shame.

I hope this girl’s friends and family support her after this. I hope people reading about this in the media learn to distinguish the difference between how the media portay things and look at this, reading between the lines and looking in from the outside.

Never judge what you don’t understand

Everyone around us has a story to tell, but it seems to me that victims of domestic abuse are judged more than others.

How can people judge others on what they don’t understand?

To add insult to injury, victims are judged for staying in the relationship, encouraged to speak out yet, the harsh reality is, without care, guidance, support and aftercare, murdered by an ex partner.

Can society really afford to judge any victim of domestic abuse? Really?

Does society not feel a little bit guilty of being so judgmental and then learning how many victims cannot “just leave” because when they do there life often results in murder.

Less judging and more awareness would be so much more beneficial to any victim rather that too much judging and not enough awareness.

Poor attitudes are displayed toward victims of domestic abuse with so many victims, male and female, feeling so let down by society. Poor attitudes, inadequate training and judgmental does nothing apart from allowing perpetrators to carry on abusing.

How does that help victims?

Victims are encouraged to speak out but feeling judged and criticised will do more damage than good. Many victims are isolated and with this negative behaviour from others, what other alternative do victims have other than staying with there perpetrator?

Domestic abuse is not a second class crime and victims shouldn’t be treated as though they are the perpetrator, they are the victim in this complex cycle.

One of the barriers preventing victims from speaking out is being judged by friends, family and society – along with not being believed – a radical change in our culture is needed.

Victims of domestic abuse need support not judgement.

No one has the right to judge what they don’t understand and no one understands the complex cycle unless they have walked in a victims shoes across eggshelves, living in fear and being controlled every which way – just the tip of the ice berg for 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men who are victims of domestic abuse.

Judgement will put victims in danger. It’s not taken seriously, victims are judged and criticised – sounds to me, like a perpetrators behaviour.

We need to see a culture change, soon otherwise how can we stop this epidemic. We are a hypercritical society, encouraging victims to speak out only to judge them and take away cuts and funding, preventing them to live without there perpetrator. We are playing right into perpetrators hands whilst perpetrators are getting away with murder.

We should never, ever judge what we dont understand.

The Police aren’t Judge & Jury but more awareness & training could change attitudes…right?

As a survivor of domestic abuse I was fully supported by West Midlands Police and could not fault them in anyway – and I am still friends with the Police Officer who came to my home to take the very last statement off me as a victim.

The most important thing to understand is not everyone is the same.

Not all men are perpetrators and not all women are victims.

Domestic abuse, unfortunately, is such a contraversial subject that it’s just not understood by everyone – which in one way is a good thing because that means those who don’t understand it haven’t been affected by it but those who should understand it, don’t.

The one organisation that does get the most negative comments however, and who are judged the most are the Police force because after a victim has suffered domestic abuse in silence for a period of time, they will phone the Police – usually as a last resort and that is their cry out for help. So even though the Police might be the last people a victim calls, they are the first port of call that victim will speak out to about what they are suffering.

The media portrays a negative vision of the Police too because some, a couple, a few, the minority of Police officers still don’t quite understand the complexity of the domestic abuse cycle. But who is to blame for that? More awareness and more training of professionals is a must?

The sad reality is, however, there will always be the odd one or two who will say insensitive things about domestic abuse and unfortunately there will always be that odd one or two who won’t change their attitude toward domestic abuse. However, not all Police officers are the same.

This blog below, speaks volumes about domestic abuse from the Police Officers view and also the victims too:

I’m sorry

I’m sorry when I get that radio communication ‘code 1 to domestic in progress’ I’m already thinking “here we go again”

I’m sorry that when I ask the comms operator ‘any previous calls?’ And they say several I think ‘why the fuck don’t they just leave!’

I’m sorry that en route I’m thinking about my own personal safety and not what the victims going through or been through

I’m sorry that I’ve received the call at 21.20 hours and I’m off at 22.00 hours and I’m into rest days.

I just want to finish my duty and go home.

I’m sorry I didn’t take photos of injuries as I was too busy thinking of my time off.

I’m sorry I couldn’t remember all 28 DASH questions.

I’m sorry I made a pocket note book entry but didn’t put them onto the intell report as I was too busy thinking of my plans for the weekend even if you did come out as high risk.

I’m sorry I thought ‘Christ you need to get out of this’ without thinking where you’ll go, what finances you’ll have to support you and the children, who you had to talk to and what support you’d get after you left

I’m sorry I don’t understand why you don’t leave

Why you stay
Why you don’t have friends or family around you
Why you don’t have any money
Why you don’t have any confidence in yourself
Why you think no one else will want you

I’m sorry when you’re assaulted by your female partner I think ‘Man up and just sort her out’

I’m sorry that I sent you a text asking you to call me to make an appointment to make a statement. Who does have control of your phone?

I’m sorry I turned up and you were drunk because it’s the only way you can cope with the constant beatings and abuse I’m sorry I believed your partner when they said ‘sorry officer but just look at the state they’re in’ pointing at you.

I’m sorry the laws an ass and I we can’t attest for coercive/financial abuse

I’m sorry for standing in your front room thinking ‘why don’t you just sort it out reasonably. Like grown ups. Go to relate’

I’m sorry I forgot that you’ve probably been assaulted 35 times, plus, before you’ve had the courage to call us.

I’m sorry when I found out your partner was just out of prison on licence I didn’t contact probationto inform them of the latest incident.

I’m sorry I thought ‘it’s only the nosey neighbour calling us’
I’m sorry I don’t see all victims of domestic violence as the next potential murder victim.

I’m sorry I asked ‘you didn’t see this coming??’

I’m sorry I think you’re some other agencies problem.

I’m sorry that as I write this some officers reading this still won’t be sorry

As I said, I had no fault with West Midlands Police whatsoever but I can see from the media and the people I support that things certainly have changed over the last 8 years when I was last a victim.

The one thing that has changed, I feel, is attitude toward the cycle, a lack of understanding, professionals and agencies not getting enough training and still not enough awareness of the cycle.

If we lived in a society where all this could be changed, then we would see that Police aren’t Judge and Jury and that as a nation, we must stand united where domestic abuse is concerned.

Domestic abuse and journalism

With the support group I run, I often have many journalists contact me asking if I know any survivors wanting to share there story. And then my heart sinks because I know even at this point, the survivor still will not be able to share there story.

Journalists need survivors to speak out whose perpetrators received a custodial sentence – boom, a barrier right there.

How many perpetroatrs actually receive a custodial sentence for abusing victims; something you don’t see very often.

Sharing stories a fabulous way for victims to be heard and to inspire others. It should not matter when the abuse took place, the most important thing is the victim being heard and others living in hope that there is life after domestic abuse.

It annoys me so that yet again victims cannot speak out and it more than likely to protect the perpetrator and to stop reprocautions coming back to the journalist.

It is so sad that we really do not live in a society with freedom of speech because if we did, all survivors would be selling stories.

Sharing stories is not about living in the past but instead it is a healing process for many, allowing them to move forward, trying to put the past behind them. Survivors should and need to talk openely about the abusive relationship they have experienced and shouldn’t feel weak for doing so – it is all a healing process and will help deal with the future much more realistically than keeping it inside.

Like the tongue, journalism is a powerful tool but used int he correct manner can help so many. When picking weekly magazines from the shelf, we never actually see a headline with the term domestic abuse on the cover, maybe if we did, society would sit up and take notice. Powerful and controlling behaviour is a relationship is exactly what domestic abuse is and, as a society, we need to get into the habit of actually using the correct terminology. We should not be shying away from it, it is what it is; domestic abuse.

With how powerful the media is, by using those two words, I believe, would be an excellent starting point, a way of opening up and telling society what domestic abuse is, what it feels like and what devestating aftermath it can leave behind.

However, it is as equally important to get the balance right and raise awareness and the positivity of domestic abuse and how you can survivor life after being a victim of it.

I don’t feel, as a society, we should be holding back on using the media in a positive way. So many people, including out young people. have easy access not only to the internet on phones but also radio and catchup TV. Used right, everyone could at least be aware of the early warning signs.

A beautiful poem made for me by @gx99g

Sam……

Doing great,
Life going so well,
But meeting him,
Made life hell

Woken to cook
And made to clean,
To be polite…
..he was so mean

He wanted power,
He wanted control,
That’s the way,
These ‘big men’ roll

Awful things,
Not fit for verse,
This lovely lady,
Escaped his curse

Now she’s thriving,
With lovely Little Miss,
Helping others,
Find their bliss.