“Have you seen this Sammieb1980″ flashed up on my screen as I was reading through my tweets:-
48 women tragically lost their life.
I blinked hard at the screen. The words staring straight into my face. The words echoing around in my mind. I could have been the 49th person. I could be dead. I could have been killed. I could have been a memory to my parents. I could have left my daughter motherless. That could have been me.
Scrolling up and down the page I see gorgeous women; a mother, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a nan, a best friend. Tears prick my eyes as I think of their family and friends how there doesn’t seem to be any closure on this epidemic. How they didn’t get Justice. How they were not heard, listened too or believed. How they were failed by the system. How the gaps, judgmental and stereotypical helped kill them. How that could have been me.
“In most situations, a woman will be killed as she tries to leave an abusive partner, which is the reason many are scared to leave”. It’s there in black and white for all the world to see, yet it’s still not digested in such a way that society believes it. They don’t believe it. Like those 48 women, I know only too well that this is real. This isn’t make-believe, this isn’t people exaggerating domestic abuse, these are real people telling the truth.
I’ve slept rough, I’ve slept outside, I’ve slept on friends sofa’s and I stayed in a refuge but every time I left, I went back. The manipulation, the power of his tongue, the words that came from his mouth, the fact that I was already so broken down into thousands of pieces there was no way I could be fixed back together, how I was so mentally and physically exhausted, how I had nothing in my life apart from him, the one who always seemed to be there when no one else was around, always made me go back to him. Go back into the arms of the complex cycle of this crime.
This campaign highlights the reality of domestic abuse.
At the hands of David Cameron, 112 women with 84 children are being turned away from refuges that cannot not house them and yet has the audacity to think it’s “just a domestic” “it’s not that bad” “why don’t you just leave” or “it’s better to stay for the sake of the children. This is the harsh reality of a society that simply doesn’t have a clue about domestic abuse, how it starts, what if feels like, how it makes you feel, the impact it has on you, your children, the world around you – how it can lead to death.
Why are we living in a country that leaves it too late to intervene, why are we living in a country that has no Justice or closure for victims and survivors, why are we still living in a country that is not taking domestic abuse seriously and why are we having to support campaigns such as this when things like this should not be happening at all.
Police get an emergency domestic violence call every 30 seconds – I was one of those people who spoke out, who phoned the police, who said enough was enough.
On average two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales – that is a scary statistic one that should speak volumes, one that tells you that it’s not “just a domestic” ” “it’s not that bad” “why don’t you just leave” or “it’s better to stay for the sake of the children”. This statistic proves the coercive control, the fear, the intimidation, the verbal threats, the stalking and the harassment continues long after the relationship has ended. This statistic tells you perpetrators cannot deal with rejection. This statistic tells you it could be your mother, daughter, sister, niece, nan, best friend. It could have been me.
He will kill you. Those 4 words were the words that my mum said to me every single time I went back to him. And she is right. He would have killed me if I had stayed with him http://news.sky.com/story/955195/using-make-up-to-fight-domestic-violence but I am one of the lucky ones because looking at this campaign, it could have been me.
I advocate because I survived. I advocate because of these women. I advocate because I know domestic abuse kills. I advocate because I don’t want this to happen to anyone. I want a Government to pledge and to do the same. Today. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. Not next week. Not next month. Not next year. Now. I don’t want another victim killed, another child motherless, another mother childless. I want to live in a society that knows the early warning signs, that knows when to intervene, that listens, believes and supports all victims of domestic abuse. I want to live in a society that takes domestic abuse seriously. I want that for the next generation. For my daughter. My grandchildren. My great-grandchildren. For everyone.
This campaign is real life, it’s a wake up call, it’s reality. We have got to stand united and work together to prevent this from happening. Without lifelines such as refuges what chance do victims have. They don’t. All they can do is go back to the perpetrator. To being abused, to being a victim, to being killed.
We can see quite clearly from this campaign how much domestic abuse costs, how it affects everyone and how desperate we need to keep existing refuges open and how we need to open more. Not just for women. But for men. Children. For all victims of domestic abuse. This crime won’t magically disappear. It’s not going to suddenly stop. I fear it’s going to do nothing more than spiral out of control with more and more victims being killed.
It’s now time to sit up, smell the coffee and do something today. Make that change now. I learned the hard way, so did these women too – no one else should suffer if the support and intervention from our Government is imminent.
For three years I was a victim of physical and psychological abuse however like many other victims, I didn’t know what domestic abuse was until it was too late. I had ended the relationship before I knew that I had been a victim and received support as a survivor rather than when I was a victim. Too little too late. For me, for many others and for those who have died at the hands of a perpetrator.
I suffered a miscarriage, I took an overdose, I was spat at, kicked, punched, slapped, I was ridiculed, humiliated, controlled, monitored, accused. I accepted and tolerated his behaviour because I didn’t know any different. I thought this was love. I thought he loved me. I thought this happened in all relationships. I believe that if domestic abuse had been discussed during my sex education lessons at school, alarm bells might have gone off a lot sooner. Not only do we need to fully support this campaign but we also need to bring awareness into everyone’s life.
Reading this article made me realise how lucky I am, how I’ve survived, how I must not stop raising awareness, advocating or supporting any man, woman or child, how it could quiet easily have been my daughter sitting here right now looking at that article and seeing her dead Mother’s face starting back at her. This campaign has made me realise how that could have been me, how during the (almost) 10 years I have been a survivor, has anything really changed where domestic abuse is concerned or is it still the taboo subject it was 40 or 50 years ago.