#YouAreNotAlone… At Home Shouldn’t Mean At Risk
Trigger warning. Maybe I typed that trigger warning for myself. I’m going to talk about domestic violence. I have done a few times in my blogs and there is also a podcast available. It’s something that I feel so strongly about it feels like I can’t breathe at times. This may be a long one….sorry not sorry…. This is going to be a one take thing. OK. Let’s do this. You don’t have to be sitting there right now with a black eye and a bust lip to be identified as a victim of domestic violence. Your partner may have never physically hit you ever. They may beat you daily. That is not what defines domestic abuse and violence. Anyone can be a victim of Domestic abuse. Its not just women , not by far. Don’t believe me? Are you reading this and wondering if you really are in an abusive situation…? OK…. What is domestic abuse? We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men. Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following: • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence) • Psychological and/or emotional abuse  • Physical or sexual abuse • Financial or economic abuse • Harassment and stalking • Online or digital abuse
The above information is provided by Womansaid.org. But you can google it as much as you want and similar to above will keep turning up. I can not tell you how many times I typed “AM I in a domestic abuse relationship” and “How do I leave a domestic abuse relationship” into my phone. Hundreds if not thousands. I made so many plans to leave him. I say him. I have been surrounded by domestic abuse perpetrators my whole life. From the womb. But if you know me you will know who I refer to when I say “Him”. My whole relationship I felt alone. I felt like no one could or would help me and I did not see how I could ever get out. The above statement, states that Domestic abuse can include abut is not limited to the words listed. So, for every single person out there…. man…child …women…. I am going to go through that list honestly. And I will tell you if that was happening to me and how. You do it with me. If you think you are the victim of DA, then let’s do it together. We will do each one at a time and I will do my bit on here and you do your in your head. And then we will meet at the end and see how you feel, deal? You might read all this and think of someone else that it needs to be shared with…do it…because we are in this together and #YouAreNotAlone If you are a child or young person reading this, you can do this also. It helps when we look at things in order. I’m nervous but let’s have a go. Coercive control: I think this can be the hardest to understand when your actually in the situation, but I am away from it and can tell it how it was. (Do you know my heart is banging as I write this, mad, old habits die hard) He used sex as a form of coercive control. He had sex with me when he knew I did not want to but also knowing that if I verbally said no then there would be hell to pay. I know this caused people to get pissed the last time I said it…. but that’s rape. Just so you know. He knew from very early on that I didn’t want to have sex with him. I told him. Many times. And he said that I was ill and needed anti-depressants. Then he would start being nasty to everyone in the house and if I confronted him about it, he would say what did I expect, as I want “Giving” him sex. I would say that I did not want to be with him and that he should leave. He would either…. start smashing and crashing around the house, screaming and calling me names so that the kids could hear or scream in my face, forehead to forehead, for hours. Why didn’t I leave? Because I was being abused, I had nowhere to go and no one to go to. I was scared. I thought that he was actually right to be honest. I was a shit mum. He told me that by breaking up the family I would be making things so much worse for the kids and…like he often said…I would never manage without him. I believed him very much so and had no one to tell me any different. He would then threaten to take my child. Like, he would start screaming and shouting about getting her stuff ready and he would start getting her bits together. I would then start saying no…. please…don’t. He would cry and say it was not his fault he was so angry. It was mine. It was his families. Then he would cry more and say I was all he had. That this was his family. When the crying didn’t work he would then go upstairs and pretend to start packing, making as much noise as he could, until the kids noticed and then I would try and make him quite so they wouldn’t hear and I would agree to talk. He would say he would change. I would cry often and say that I wanted to be on my own and he would ignore that and tell me all the reasons why I would struggle on my own. Round and round. But he never hit me. I also felt very much alone. Psychological and/ or emotional abuse Bloody hell. Where to start. So first of all, he is a narcissist. Also, he will do what ever he needs to do to get what he wants. He is abuser, that is what they do. This man messed with my head in so many ways that it has taken 5 years to unpick so much of the damage, His favourite line was… “Your mad, you need to see someone”. He told me in as many different ways possible that I had mental health issues and that’s why he acted the way he did. He would make me sit or stand for hours at a time whilst he screamed and shouted in my face, He would go bright red and spit would be on my face as he shouted and screamed and told me all the reason why I was a no good c….. He told me my house was not good enough, That I was a bad mother, Bad girlfriend. That his friends didn’t like me. My friends didn’t like me. My kids didn’t like me. He would turn things around and twist the thing he had done so it always ended up being me to blame. Once…..this is harsh….when my mum had died and it was coming up to the one year anniversary I wanted to take flowers to her grave but was unable to go on public transport as I was heavily pregnant. Weeks away. He agreed he would drive me. On the morning we were going I was sitting on Facebook and I noticed that he had posted a topless picture. Strange. I clicked it and his ex-girlfriend, and he were openly talking on this picture and flirting. I burst into tears and he walked in the room. He asked what was wrong and I said How could you blatantly flirt on Facebook like that and he said “no one cares, look at ya…you’re a state…and guess what…..I aint taking you to the grave”. And he didn’t. A few days later I sat on the sofa crying, now heavily pregnant and a mess because of what he was doing and he got up, went to my bag and got the keys from the flat I had shared with mum for 26 years , chucked them at me and said “Why don’t you just fuck off home….oh wait…you can’t you sad bitch”. That has really upset me writing that so let’s move on. Oh, and he never hit me, and I felt like no one would help me and I was alone Physical and sexual abuse He knowingly had sex with me knowing I didn’t want to …. but he never hit me, and I thought it was only happening to me Financial or economic abuse This was less as I was in control of my own income, however, he would and has used the last of our money on himself. He has put the Family Without so he could have what he wants many times. He would always …ALWAYS blame me if we did not have much money. He never hit me, and I felt very much alone. Harassment and stalking I guess I have never given him much to harass and stalk me about about. I have been single for years and I don’t really do anything….however….he often makes reference to things that I have posted online and as he is blocked on my private stuff I have no idea how he sees it. One valentine’s day he sent me present’s through the day. Flowers…balloons…. slippers…. he then said he would be home at 6…. we had been separated 2 years!!!! He would walk into my house whenever he wanted when we first broke up. So, I banned him from the house. At the very start he would push those boundaries but not now. And I think we know that he never hit…. but yet managed to make me feel very much alone. Online and digital abuse I could literally give you my phone now a…like this week…and you will see me trying to have a normal conversation with him and him being nothing short of nasty. I either now ignore it or tell him that he is a DV perpetrator. Just black and white like that. I am no longer scared of him. I took back my power. He would text me and tell me this was going to happen, and these people would come and sort me out. I used to shake with some of the threats. He used to say he was coming to the house to take my child or was going to come in. I wild sit for hours in a panic waiting to see if he would come. Anyway…. I could be here all day.
How did you get on? Did any of the above ring true for you. Please don’t think I am telling toy any of the above for sympathy or to say woe is me. I’m telling you so you know that #YouAreNotAlone
Like I keep saying, he never hit me. Grabbed…yes….fist pressed hard against my face….yes….threats to …yes….but he never hit me and that’s why I felt like I couldn’t go to the police….because was I really the victim of domestic abuse? Yes….…I was the victim of domestic abuse and violence. I just didn’t realise. A lot of it was normal to me. The thought of being in lock down with him or any other abuser makes me feel sick. I have shed tears over it. This week I had to try and support a child stuck in the same situation I have just described. I think we will have a few this week. A few years ago, I meet a woman. I don’t know how else to say this other than she is my family. Sister…that is what it feels like. I love her. Unconditional. She loves me. She is one of my best friends. Her name is Catherine Hinwood. Catherine has had to listen to a lot of stuff from me and has had to support me through some tough times. She champions me always, so this is my chance to do it back for her. Catherine works for the Ministry of Justice. I just had to text Catherine to ask what her job title is because to me, she is just my sister from another mister…. wait…she is typing …. Catherine Hinwood is a deputy director of criminal justice policy in the ministry of justice, and head of victim and witness policy across government and the ministry of justice gender champion. She has also not been answering my texts regularly lately. Which is strange but she has good reason….Because she has been creating something bloody beautiful. She has been putting together a plan for emergency funding to support victims of sexual and domestic violence during Covid 19 and beyond. She has been the most focused I have ever known her. She has been waking up at 3 in the morning with a new idea or angel to make the government see what needs to be done. Research…. evidence…. plans. She has been putting it all together in the hops that when it was presented to the prime minster it would be agreed. She went into lock down knowing that in many ways she would be OK and would work through lock down whilst so many out there would be abused day and night. She could have had a melt down and said…I just can’t. But she did not. Because she is my people and that is not what we do. She only went and got the whole bloody thing agreed….and has taken back the power off the abusers.
And this is what she has achieved.
Emergency funding: £76 million extra funding has been allocated to support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery. Funding for charities to support all of the above. Domestic abuse survivors to automatically qualify for property need under council duty to relive homelessness. You can read about it here…. but I also need you to share the Hell out of it so that every single person that NEEDS to see it …does. And they can know there is a way out.
The ministry if justice has also created This Video to be shared that is a beacon of light for all those affected by domestic abuse. It has links where to get help and support and also front-line workers letting people know that we are here and ready to support you through this pandemic. You do not need to be alone or isolated anymore. You can leave. You can get help. Even if they haven’t hit you…. #YouAreNotAlone must go viral. MUST. Did you hear what I said …. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Support across England and Wales is available to YOU. They are free, confidential and independent and you DON’T have to report a crime to the police if you don’t wish to. You can get support via email, phone, live chat and lots of other resources. They are available in this video and will be shared below.
Click HERE for support right now Finally, and I hope she does not see this bit, I would like to thank Catherine for what she has done. I think the enormity may be too much for her to comprehend right now, but she has saved lives, she has made it possible for people to leave abuse. She has done something that many could not. So, from one survivor to another, thank you Catherine…. the fish finger rolls are on me x
Where to get support:
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police – the police will continue to respond to emergency calls
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.
Victim Support operates a 24/7 Supportline offering emotional and practical support for anyone who has been a victim of crime or a witness who needs support or information.
Telephone: 0808 1689 111
Information can also be found online at www.victimsupport.org.uk
Rape Crisis Helpline
The Rape Crisis National Helpline is provided by Rape Crisis South London. It offers confidential emotional support, information and referral details.
Telephone: 0808 802 9999
Opening hours: Every day: 12:00-14:30 and 19:00-21:30
Rape Crisis Live Chat
Live Chat, run by Rape Crisis England & Wales is a free, text-based, confidential emotional support service for women and girls aged 16 and over who have experienced sexual violence. For more information please go to www.rapecrisis.org.uk.
The Survivors Trust
The Survivors Trust provides confidential information, advice and support for women, men and young people, their parents/carers or partners via a helpline or email.
Telephone: 08088 010818
Helpline opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 10am-6pm Friday: 10am-2pm
National Male Survivor Helpline and Online Service
The National Male Survivor Helpline is a confidential helpline for male victims of sexual violence and abuse. They also provide emotional support via telephone, SMS (text) and email.
Telephone: 0808 800 5005 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Text: 07860 027573
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday and Thursday: 8:00am to 8:00pm Saturday: 10:00am to 2:00pm
The National Male Rape and Sexual Abuse webchat support service can be found at www.survivorsuk.org
Galop – for members of the LGBT+ community
If you are a member of the LGBT+ community and experienced sexual assault, abuse, or violence, Galop runs a specialist helpline.
Telephone: 0800 999 5428 Email: email@example.com
NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
NAPAC offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. NAPAC’s website offers a large range of resources for survivors, as well as those who care for and work with them. NAPAC also offer a support email service for those who feel more comfortable seeking support in writing.
Private and confidential helpline: 0808 801 0331 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10am to 4pm Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2pm–9pm
Support if you are worried about hurting someone
If you have concerns that you may commit sexual abuse or sexual violence yourself or are concerned about another person’s behaviour, or a child’s behaviour, you can contact the Stop It Now helpline.
Telephone: 0808 1000 900
If you are worried about domestic abuse and hurting the ones you love while staying at home, call the Respect Phoneline for support and help to manage your behaviour.
Telephone: 0808 8024040