Doctor, doctor

The silence was so loud, it was deafening.  No eye contact was made as the doctor tapped away at the keyboard, giving the odd grunt as an answer rather than speaking to me.  How could I be diagnosed if I wasn’t even looked at?  How could I be heard if I wasn’t being listened too?  How could I be safe, it I wasn’t being taken seriously?

It wasn’t pills or medicine I wanted, just someone to listen to me, tell me I wasn’t going mad and that it wasn’t my fault.  Yes I do drink, yes I do smoke and yes I am a victim of domestic abuse, thanks for asking.  But that question is never asked, is it?

GPs speak to many people over a long period of time, surely they notice things, subtle things, slight things, shocking things?  A GP would notice body language, lack of eye contact or even being escorted to all of their appointments, wouldn’t they pick up on these things?  Wouldn’t alarm bells be ringing if a repeat patient has bruises, cuts or wounds in awkward places, patients who frequently ask for prescribed tranquilizers, anti depressant or pain killers, gynecological problems, STI’s, urinary tract infections, evidence of rape or assault, stress related symptoms, anxiety disorders, feelings of isolations, self harm, suicidal thoughts, minimised injuries, repeated chronic injuries, all red warning flags that a patient is a victim of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is not a single event, it is an on going behaviour pattern than gets worse and frequent over time, especially when GPs aren’t recognising the signs.

Keep taking the tablets or sugar-coating around the taboo word of domestic abuse isn’t helping at all.  Domestic abuse is a complex issue whereby victims need help and support.  GPs should be at the frontline recognising the signs and supporting victims because of isolation, intimidation and immense controlling, a victim won’t have the strength or courage to just speak out and ask for help.  They no long know who to trust, after being psychologically manipulated into believing their perpetrator is the only person they can trust, a victim feels they have no one else to turn too.  A victim will be worried about speaking out, yet a GP should be able to respond appropriately and safely.

Domestic abuse is still a taboo subject with so much stigma attached but GPs are uniquely placed and trusted by many so with the right training they could become the forefront and lifeline to thousands of silent sufferers.

With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men being affected by domestic abuse at some point during their lifetime, it has far reaching consequences for victims.  It causes physical and psychological issues, and sometimes even results in death, so why aren’t our GPs able to support victims before this point?

All concerns should be explored in a non judgmental manner, ensuring the victim feels safe and understand how reluctant victims will be to disclose any information to them.

Empty words from empty people

Blog 1

Talk is cheap and that screams out volumes to victims of domestic abuse because time and time again, they hear the same thing, we will learn by this, but do we ever?

False promises and lies to lure us into the tangled web, feels just like the same behaviour of that of the perpetrator.

Talk is cheap, saying the things you know people want to hear are just meaning less, we continue to hear empty words from empty people.

People witness it but choose to turn a blind eye to it, no one wants to speak out it other than burying their head in the sand, ignorance is not bliss but yet, we hear of people wanting to make changes, wanting to do this, that and the other but we are still yet to see this happen.

How can something be changed, if people aren’t even aware is exists?  How can one run from something, they don’t even know they are a victim of?  How can we change something that is perceived to be seen as normal?

What strength and confidence do victims have in speaking out when so many are being let down and failed by the system?  What hope does that give anyone, let alone the silent sufferers?

The times Police Officers feel “it’s just a domestic”, when the Ambulance crew doesn’t arrive quickly enough or the times when the Judge feels “children should see both parents” even though mum or dad is a perpetrator, not reading between the lines and not understanding that domestic abuse is all about power and control.  How is a lack of awareness, education and training, keeping victims safe whilst at the same time, giving courage, hope and inspiration to others to speak out sooner rather than later.

It’s much more than the victim “just leaving”, professionals and agencies need to work with those victims, as soon as they make that call and ask for help.  A victim physically and psychologically is not strong enough at all to leave their perpetrator and survive without first having support and aftercare, they will just leave and go back to the complex cycle because they have been completely brainwashed into thinking their perpetrator is the only person they can rely on.

New Laws is not the way forward, if the current laws aren’t strong enough to work now, what good will new laws really do?

Addressing domestic abuse exists us the right way forward but there needs to be an understanding of why so many victims are still not getting the help, support and protection they deserve.

It’s not good enough.

Victims of domestic abuse are let down by multiple agencies with many victims dying as a result.  This is what we must try to stop but first society as a whole must learn how to spot what domestic abuse actually is.

Focus on physical abuse takes our eye of what domestic abuse is all about, power and control.  Every aspect of a victims life is monitored, controlled and watched with many victims not being physically harmed but still a victim; coercive control.

A confusion of love and care with power and control, is what allows a perpetrator to abuse for so long.  With isolation beginning right from the start in a subtle manner, it’s too late when the victim realises that what they are experiencing is domestic abuse.

By the time a victim does know the traumatic experience is actually abuse, it’s too late for them to “just leave”, they have been brainwashed, manipulated and controlled for so long, they don’t know how to cope without their perpetrator, but this isn’t because of what they have done, what they have said or who they are, it’s because this is exactly what the perpetrator wants them to feel.

Stopping domestic abuse is the aim of many campaigners, and the one thing many agencies, individuals and professionals say, but to actually achieve that aim, there is a lot of hard work to do before hard.

But now, we must see the empty words from empty people, actually put into action.  We need to see change now.  Before it’s too late.

My story by @MissJB07

My Story Where am I now …………

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
My home life was nothing less than normal …. Define normal what is normal? 2.4 children Mum and Dad on the social ladder they would be middle class working family what utter rubbish! I don’t do putting people in boxes but for the purposes of this piece it gives you an idea doesn’t it.
I would describe us as upper/ middle class if I really had to we lived in a big five bedroom house had a huge garden new car every year and a villa in Spain.
All of us had hobbies there are four of us I’m the youngest. We all ballroom and Latin danced in competition and played a musical instrument my mum was a brilliant dressmaker so all our ballroom dresses were custom made even our clothes .
Sounds great doesn’t it? Like the start of The Stepford Wives movie! Well underneath all that was our real life, life consisted of coming home from school checking to see if mums car was in the drive often hiding around the corner for a bit if I saw she was going out then sneaking in the front door grabbing my jods and my boots and making my escape to the local stables or out on my horse before mum knew I was home.
Now your all thinking yeah we all did that! What you don’t know is that my mother was a violent paranoid schizophrenic and suicidal. The truth was you never knew what you were coming home to, if you were really unlucky she would be home and that was your lot she would find something anything your clothes were wrong your hair wasn’t brushed god the list is endless and even more trivial and that would be it ….. She would start slapping me round the face ripping off any clothes she thought I shouldn’t wear and shout at me for at least 2 hours sometimes through my bedroom door where I would retreat to get away from her hoping and praying she would stop just once and I could escape somewhere anywhere ….I would tend to my new set of bruises and mop up my Inevitable nose bleed as mum had a habit of slapping me constantly round the face and at least if my nose bled that would stop her.
She had been committed to the mental asylum for 6 months undergone ECT treatment, for all those that don’t know that’s electric convulsion treatment a barbaric Neanderthal Mental health treatment back in the 70s that stripped a person of their very personality and they returned this zombie that was a shell of my mum and after that came the constant attempts at suicide.
A constant round of ringing the Doctor , the ambulance , ring Dad then what pills she took this time and trying to pursue them to come out . After this the barrage of abuse she would shout “why can’t you just let me die”, why can’t you stop interfering and leave me to die “,” I hate you I hate you just leave me to die” She eventually succeeded another way when I was 19 and had left home.
I do believe my siblings had it just as bad but in the interest of keeping to the point that’s another story.
So you get the idea that my home life was less than normal and of course when I met my now ex husband I thought this was it I’m out of here
I met my husband to be out riding on my horse he was a soldier thought I was in love.
So against his better judgement and to save face in the family I had a double wedding with my eldest sister.
So I left home gathered up my belongings and moved into an army quarter and so it began.
The first week of my marriage on my 18th birthday we had a row and he smashed all my things and punched me straight in the face burst my nose I might add he boxed for the army team middleweight so when he punched you did damage.
Now you’re thinking it’s not too late go home! Well I couldn’t go home there was nothing there for me my Dad would never let me go home so I was stuck.
Months went by and nothing happened I thought that was it I got pregnant again I had lost the first baby there was a slim chance I’d loose this one too.
I was 6 months pregnant I don’t remember what the row was about and the exact words but I was sat in the bedroom when he dragged me out by my hair in his hand he has his 22 air rifle he flung me across the room into the bed put the gun the my head and fired ……the gun jammed when that happened he threw it dragged me out the room punched me full in the stomach and threw me down the stairs.
He took me to hospital and dumped me there and left. I was monitored for 48 hours and left bereft wondering what the hell happened baby was ok I had to go home .
He was sorry all the apologies the tears begged me to stay ……and I did I stayed.
There was bits in between but I shall stick to the point .The battalion moved and we ended up in Tidworth , my heart sank I was in the middle of nowhere in a Garrison town there was no going back now.
And so it continued the beatings smashing up my home there was a poignant moment you see when I realised I had nowhere to go, it happened like this;
One night he’d blacked out in temper he stared punching me in the face to this day I don’t even know if it was once or twice, all I remember is blood and the pain and then realising he had no idea did he so I said to him” I’m going to take dog for a walk” he replied “yeah see you in a bit” I fled to my friends house who was also someone I worked with I hadn’t seen my face I just got out. The first thing she did after the shock of seeing me was to put me in front of a mirror.
I was shocked the person that stared back had no side to their face nothing like looked like my face I went to hospital the fished around to find my eyeball he had cracked my cheekbone and broke my nose I had a bruise down to the bottom of my neck . My Dad came down and when I asked to go home my Dad said I could go home but I could only stay for two weeks and then I had to find somewhere else to live. It was that moment that I realised that I had nowhere to go ….so I stayed.
Shortly after this my Mum committed suicide a highly planned operation she made sure this time that none of us would save her.
He beat me up a few times after that had a knife to my throat , tried to strangle me , he cut my hair off once And on two other occasions he tried to shoot me . He smashed my head against a door and gave me concussion, he also raped me on countless times I forgotten how many I fought back a few times but inevitably I was the only one that got hurt so I stopped after a while no one was coming to save me and if he killed me in the process who would know?
I broke my fingers and my knuckles in the last and first time I stood up to him just before I left. The row came when he admitted to cheating on me with over 120 women.
He did the decent thing thou as we were in Belfast and he arranged for me to come back to England and a house to stay in until I got myself sorted. And then the rest is history I have scars, my left hand I can’t use that properly and I can no longer have children.
I had an accident 2 years ago and lost my finger made the whole thing worse but the final blow came when I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease it seems the cause was too many blows to my head that I sustained over the years caused frontal lobe damage an imbalance in my ears and some other problems, the first attack I had, I had no idea what was happening to me I laid unconscious for ten hours vomiting and the room spinning wondering if I was going to die! I can’t describe how devastated I was when I was told I had this, its life changing no cure and managed by medication.
Since being diagnosed I manage very well with medication and I have a good prognosis.

So where am I now, Its been 5 years since my initial diagnosis of menieres I have since enrolled into the Police Service where I have been working for the past 5 years in a paid and a voluntary role. I still have attacks randomly and now as a result it has started to affect my hearing I suffer from constant tinnitus sometimes it’s so loud I can’t even hear the TV. I still have nightmares that don’t seem to go away it got better but every now and then something triggers me off and I remember that that actually happened. But I’m very determined that this is not going to stop me doing what I want to do . Coping and staying fit is an on going battle I have some good days and some really bad ones migraines that can last up to 2 weeks at a time as I’ve already mentioned constant tinnitus my hearing is going in my right ear I’ve been told the more attacks I have the more impact there will be on my hearing I’ve only just took a hearing test at the hospital and I will know more when I return for another round of tests in 4 months time and if I am eligible for a hearing aid. I have also prolapsed two discs in my spine last year but that hasn’t stopped me either I did say I was very determined didn’t I ha-ha.

I have ran London Marathon twice now in 2014 and 2015 runs to date this year alone are 3 marathons London 2015 , Brighton 2015 and Race for life marathon 2015 and then 6 half marathons I started out raising money for Refuge Charity as a part of RunningforRefuge team.
Since then I have been raising money for CRuK as part of Ironcoppers team which is close to my heart now from loosing my beautiful step mum recently to cancer.
Three police forces have so far used my blog for their domestic violence campaigns one even in the USA.

I am now very honoured to be part of SODA, Survivors of Domestic Violence 6 years in the making by Sam Billingham this is going to be a very exciting year for me I am an advisor on the advisory board we are only just starting out. To be asked to be part of this I don’t even have the words to tell you it has always been my aim to help as many people as I can that have suffered or are currently suffering domestic violence and raise awareness so this is like a massive light bulb lighting up for me I aim to run a marathon to raise funds for SODA next year so watch this space!

If you saw someone with a black dot on their hand, what would you do?

I would wonder what part of the cycle they are in and worry if their perpetrator has already spotted their cry out for help.  My intervening could endanger the victim further.

Smearing the black dot campaign all over social media really has defeated its purpose of serving as a subtle signal for help.  Social media accounts are one of the things that are hugely controlled by perpetrators, with known passwords and messages being read, I can envisage victims putting a black dot on their hand and then, announcing to the world that they need help.

A victim of domestic abuse is often in denial, denying they are a victim, finding it difficult to admit to themselves, let alone the rest of the world that they are a victim and to ask for help takes time, and trust.  With perpetrators crushing every ounce of trust a victim once had, victim blaming living inside society as a whole and believing their perpetrator when they tell them, no one will believe you anyway, asking for help really isn’t that easy.

Even when the victim has found the courage and strength to leave the relationship, the abuse doesn’t just stop, with many victims being harassed and stalked.

Asking for help takes a huge amount of courage and sometimes won’t happen until the survivor is completely safe, so would the black dot really be needed?

Society and everyone who lives in it, no know what the dot means – including perpetrators, predators and rapists, how much more control can a victim take, because now, hands will be checked for signs of black dots – even one’s that have been erased.

If approached someone with a black dot, are they psychologically ready for support, have they been abused 35 times and just phoned the Police, have they left and gone back to the perpetrator hundreds of times, do they have a safety plan in place and it’s now safe for them to leave or, are they still at the vulnerable stage where they are being lured with lies, lies to change, it won’t happen again and I love you, but you know it’s your fault.

Unfortunately, I see it as irresponsible and dangerous; a black dot might scream out help, but many victims don’t have a safe place to go, they aren’t financially secure or ready to leave and with capacity at its fullest at registered charities, they might have no other alternative but to go back to the perpetrator.

It’s a talking point but it’s far from a solution that will keep all victims of domestic abuse safe.  Many victims don’t even know they are victims, at what point would they know to put a black dot on their hand?

We live in a society where people don’t want to “get involved” where domestic abuse is concerned; it’s a domestic, the victim probably deserved it anyway and, if it was that bad, they would leave, so how would put a black dot on your hand, change that?  Attitudes and cultures need to change before domestic abuse is taken seriously, when society learns that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will become a victim during their lifetime and how 2 women are killed each week by a partner or former partner as well as thousands of children being witness to the abuse, believe it’s their fault.

Imagine the reaction of a male victim showing the black dot, he would be ridiculed and mocked, not supported.  It’s a campaign that could, potentially, put lives at risk, not make them safer.

The black dot campaign has got people talking about the taboo issue of domestic abuse, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  We don’t know that those being shown the black spots, are professional to help support the victim, how do we know someone related to the perpetrator won’t see them or people who do see them, just don’t know how to help or support the victim.

With a complete lack of awareness, training and understanding, who would the black dot be shown too and how would they know how to react to the revealing of it?

Victims will struggle to ask for help, many friends and family won’t even believe that the victim is actually a victim in the first place because they will only see the caring partner, not the controlling perpetrator and won’t know what agencies to signpost victims too.  Resources are limited but so too is awareness, education and training.

Maybe the black dot campaign could have been used for all survivors saying, they have a survival story to share to help give hope and inspiration to others.

Not once did you ask me if everything was ok

One of my pet hates is, being late, as my Dad says, always be 5 minutes before parade.  I pride myself on my time keeping skills especially in the workplace, it shows professionalism and keen ness!

Not once did you ask me, is everything ok.  That could have changed the who situation, I would have opened up to you, you could have been my key to freedom, but instead, you sacked me there and then on the spot, no verbal warning, no written warning, no three strikes and you are out.  You didn’t even listen to me when I tried so hard to explain to you why I hadn’t come into work for the second day that week.  Surely you noticed it was out of character for me, that I had never once been late before, I mean, I was a temp for you for a month and then you employed me on a full-time basis, so you knew what my skills and characteristics were, didn’t you?

I was no longer that bubbly person, with the smile as big as her face, walking around like a bottle of fizzy pop.  My sparkle and shine was now damp and dull, I hid inside my shell, wasn’t really able to concentrate but not once did you ask me, is everything ok.

It’s only a job, you said.

Only a job!  Only a job!  I had worked so hard to get where I was, even doing an ILEX course to become a paralegal, of course it was more than just a job!  It was my career, my life, my aspirations.  But you never took the time to ask if everything was ok and even thought I begged and pleaded with you, you never gave me another chance.  You took away my last chance of hope, my escapism, my independence.  As a boss, you should have asked me if everything was ok.

You had no idea how completely isolated I was, couldn’t even use my own mobile phone to lie to you why I couldn’t make it in, I was locked in the flat, couldn’t get out, constantly accused of having an affair.  I’d only got where I was in my career because I had slept my way there, why did I want to come to work anyway because no one liked me and I was took thick to amount to anything, so what was the point, I only dressed smartly because I was cheating on him and wanted you.

That was just half of what it was like for me, living with my perpetrator.

Never in seven years had I been shouted at, reprimanded or suspended at all, yet here you were with the power of my independence in your hand and when you uttered those words, you are sacked, I crumbled even further inside.  He was right, I was useless, no good and worthless.  Now, to make matters worse for me, he could continue to control me ever further.  Every single second of every single day I would be under his watchful eye.

What had you done.

If only you had asked me, if everything was ok.  You could have helped me break the cycle, you could have helped me find a way out, you could have saved me.

But you didn’t, you knew nothing about what I was going through; I wonder if you had ever even heard of the term domestic abuse.  You didn’t notice the signs, did you?  Just assumed I was skiving off work, just assumed my time keeping skills has changed because I was lazy or I didn’t care about my job after all.

Maybe if I had a regular review with you, you would have talked to me, asked me things, supported me, things would have been different.  Maybe if more domestic abuse awareness was around, things would have been different….maybe, maybe, maybe.

All my confidence and self-esteem crushed in those few words, you are sacked, and me put into an even dangerous position than before.  I was now isolated, financially insecure and monitored around the clock.

Depression soon set in, what did I have, if I didn’t have my career anymore, what life did I have to look forward too, I had nothing and it felt like my perpetrator was absolutely right, all because not once did you ask me if everything was ok.

That verbal abuse attacking your mind, never goes away

Domestic abuse will take away your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, no matter how confidence, strong or bubbly you once were, that will be stripped away from you.

Society believes that the complex cycle is one to easily leave, easily be free from and to easily leave behind, only victims who are now thriving will understand how difficult life after domestic abuse really is.

It takes time to build back up your confidence, it doesn’t happen over night but over a period of time.  The most difficult thing is to learn to trust again but the most important is to learn to trust yourself by going with your gut instinct.

Life for a perpetrator will continue, with very little change, however, a victims life will change completely.

Many victims will find themselves, homeless and financially deprived because of the abuse the have endured, it takes time to rebuild these things again and, it’s not as easy as people think.

For me, I lost my job as a Legal Secretary/Office Manager; you feel a failure for being sacked, like everything you worked so very hard for, just taken away from you in the blink of an eye and no matter how much you beg your boss for a second chance and explain what you are suffering at home, it just falls on deaf ears.  No one wants to listen.  But how does that help victims become survivors?

I found myself part of the benefit system and as a single mum, difficult to get back into the workplace, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get myself out of this rut I was stuck inside.  Yes, I was signing on at the job centre and yes, I was part of the work programme but it didn’t make it any easier.  When I was first part of the work programme I had to attend workshops, where we would be in a room full of other people and a speaker guiding us through how the work programme would be supporting us in our efforts to finding work.

For me, getting back into employment was a personal achievement, something I wanted to do for myself but also to show my daughter that for what we want in life, we have to work and achieve it.

Sitting in a room full of strangers, for some, sounds like no big deal but when you have had every ounce of your self-esteem, confidence and worth crushed from you, it’s difficult.  You try not to make eye contact with anyone of the opposite sex because all the accusations of having affairs and cheating come flooding back to you, you try not to wear an outfit that will “draw attention to you” because if you do, it’s only because you want the opposite sex to look at you, you feel worthless and useless at this point because, after all, this is what domestic abuse has told you.

You are encouraged to speak out during the workshop because you don’t want to be the only one that doesn’t but something stops you because whatever you say is stupid and who will listen to you anyway?  Always being told how fat, stupid, ugly, useless and pathetic you are, raises its head at awkward times, that verbal abuse attacking your mind, never goes away.

Psychological abuse doesn’t disappear or fade over time, it’s always a part of you, always stored neatly at the back of your mind, subconsciously.  It doesn’t matter how long you have been out of the relationship, those words will still come back to haunt you.

Sitting with an advisor, someone who wants to help you back into work doesn’t quite sink in straightaway; someone wants to actually help and support you back into work but why?  Living with someone who is supposed to love you and constantly being told, over and over, how useless, thick, worthless and no good you are has a huge impact on you, it drips inside your mind like a dripping tap and it’s difficult to get rid of those thoughts, it takes time.

You still feel that fear inside you, your heart beating hard and fast like a drum, hoping you’re not coming across as flirting, hope you’re not making too much eye contact and hoping what you are saying doesn’t make you sound stupid.  You sort of feel like that vulnerable victim over again, but you know it’s not your perpetrator you are talking too.

All these different jobs are being showed to you on the screen and you are being asked to “sell yourself” and “what are your skills”, when suddenly you can’t think of anything you are actually good at but when probed by the advisor, hold on a minute actually yeah, I can do that.  But, you’ve never actually sat down and thought about you, you have thought what your skills are, what you are good at and what your aims are because for so long you have been brainwashed into thinking you are nothing with nothing to offer.

Scanning through the different jobs you are being shown, so many thoughts run through your mind; no, I can’t do that, I’m not pretty enough, I can’t do that job its face to face work, I can’t do that because I’m think, I can’t work there it’s a male environment and, although you are thinking those things it’s not because you can’t actually do the job, it’s because you have been mentally brainwashed into thinking and believing those things.

You know if you don’t attend the workshops, if you’re not actively seeking work and if you don’t find a job soon, your benefit payments will stop, so you will become financially controlled again but if you just take on the first job that is offered to you and you don’t stay in employment you will feel like the failure that you were led to believe you are and you feel like your perpetrator was right all along.

Each thriving survivor is unique and individual with a healing process that will start at varying times; what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for another.  Thriving survivors need nurturing, need support and aftercare.  They have to learn to have a relationship with themselves first, get to know who they are again and where they want to be, this takes time.  Self confidence, self-esteem and self-worth needs to be raised in preparation of attending work shops and finding jobs because with it, thriving survivors will feel like they aren’t moving forward and that their perpetrator was right all along.

It’s not that thriving survivors don’t want to work because they do, it gives them freedom, sense of achievement and a control over their own life psychologically and financially, but they need guidance every single step of the way because that verbal abuse attacking your mind, never goes away.  Psychological abuse is a barrier, preventing thriving survivors to move forward in their life and without the right support and aftercare will find this a challenge.

Going back to work is a huge step and not one that should be taken lightly.  It’s about guidance so thriving survivors can see survival at the end of that tunnel.

Gone through this shit and understand big time

The one thing that victims of domestic abuse have in common, is an understanding.

They will understand how isolating, dark and empty domestic abuse really is and how society really doesn’t understand the complex cycle.

Focusing on physical abuse takes away the real meaning of domestic abuse.  It’s all about power and control, controlling every aspect of the victims life; controlling them, psychologically, sexually and financially.

Having personal experience gives you, not only first hand experience but pure understanding.  Talk to a victim and they will tell you, they just want someone to understand.

Understand why they feel the way they do, understand why they don’t just leave and why they go back.

Domestic abuse is an issue that happens all the time, with the Police receiving a domestic abuse related call every 60 seconds.  Just let that sink in.  By the time you have read that last sentence, a phone call has been made.

A sister, a brother, an uncle is a victim right now, but other than, “we will learn from this mistake, what is really being done for victims as a whole?

We know that victim blaming is a consequence of domestic abuse and that really is as far as the understanding of domestic abuse goes – not very far at all and one that doesn’t help anyone other than allowing the perpetrator to carry on abusing.

With understanding first must come awareness.  If we aren’t aware of something, how can we understand it?

Many victims are in such a dangerous situation because they aren’t aware that they are a victim in an abusive relationship, with awareness, victims might not even become a victim in the first place.

Unfortunately, we seem to live in a society that still wants to bury its head in the sand, not talk about the taboo subject on the hope it just disappears.  Believe you me, victims really do wish it were that easy!

This is something we can’t turn a blind eye to anymore.

Actions need to be put in place.

On my daily commute, not once have I seen a poster with regard to domestic abuse, a helpline or support being offered.  Not one at my doctors, hairdressers or local job centre.  So, if I’m not seeing them, how many others aren’t seeing them either.

Domestic abuse can’t be a postcode lottery, where a few get support and others don’t; domestic abuse knows no boundaries – the support and aftercare should be the same.  We can’t afford to have a postcode lottery where lives are at risk.

Awareness really is key.  Awareness shows understanding, shows victims they are not alone and that there is help available.

Reassurance is what victims want and need, lack of awareness shows them domestic abuse isn’t taken seriously, it doesn’t care they are a victim and allows perpetrators to get away with murder.

It’s a cry out for help

Isolation takes the victim away from friends, family and those that love them unconditionally.  Domestic abuse destroys lives with perpetrators always in control and always blaming.

For those looking at this complex cycle, won’t understand the in-depth impact it has on the victim, with many being blinded by the charisma oozing from the charming partner and not seeing them for the controlling perpetrator.

Friends and family will probably only notice changes in the victim such as being moody, late and different but not really understanding they have changed so much too soon.

Victims will be feeling so lonely and even alone when surrounded by so many with terror ripping through their body and soul, always living in fear of doing, saying or being in the wrong; constantly walking on a tightrope everyday.

The manipulation of the perpetrators verbal death threats making any decision that the victim may have of leaving, non-existent, knowing that the perpetrator has the power to carry out each threat.

A victim will be assaulted, on average, 35 times before phoning the Police.  Reporting your perpetrator is a huge step for any victim to take and one that could be deadly.  Making that decision to call, isn’t one that is taken lightly, it’s a cry out for help, it’s screaming help me, it’s saying, I can’t take this anymore, by this point of the relationship, a victim is physically and psychologically drained.  They need to talk to someone, they need someone to listen to them, believe them and to keep them safe.

The mind games of the persuasive perpetrator luring the victim with their tangled web of lies and false promises to change, neatly mixed together with denial, victim blaming and no one will believe you anyway, is how these statements are dropped; the power and control of the perpetrator.

Phoning the Police, making a statement, only to withdraw, isn’t wasting Police time, it’s telling you how dangerously strong perpetrators really are.

No one, other than the victim, knows what they have endured up to the point of phoning the Police because they have no acknowledgment of what is happening behind closed doors.

Friends and families frustration of a victim leaving and returning back to the perpetrator is difficult to comprehend because love and care is seen, not power and control.

Victims will become withdrawn, be in denial and not know who to trust.  The ability to make choices increasingly difficult through manipulation, control and brainwashing.  It’s not because they don’t want to leave but because they can’t.  Lack of financial dependence and no safe place to stay being two huge barriers preventing them to speak out.

It’s not about wasting Police time, it’s a clear lack of understanding of this crime.  It still has stigma and judgmental attitudes attached.

There is too much victim blaming happening, rather than openly talking about such an issue that is so common, 2 women each week are killed by this epidemic.

This crime needs to be made aware of, to help keep vulnerable victims safe, to help with recognition of the early warning signs in order to be able to leave the relationship before it’s too late.

It’s not wasting Police time but making them aware of what’s been going on for so long behind closed doors and it’s about saying, please help me.