Sefton and Liverpool Women in Business

Domestic Abuse Summit Friday 29th November 2014

First of all, here is the info on this event tomorrow:

“This is a joint initiative between a consortium of Christian Organisations committed to raising awareness about Domestic Abuse (the Josephine Butler Memorial Trust, Liverpool Cathedral, and The Diocesan Council for Social Aid, Mothers’ Union and Church & Society) and our Police and Crime Commissioner, Rt Hon Jane Kennedy.

The aim is to gather key Voluntary, Faith, Statutory and Business bodies working in the field.”

What a fabulous opportunity this is for our city, and all the wonderful women within it. I am lucky enough to have been invited along tomorrow, and I will have a small stall to tell people about the work I am doing in schools with young women and girls. And I feel truly honoured to be a part of it. These summits are becoming more common across the U.K. and lets face it, it is about time something more was considered as statistics show a quarter of all women will suffer domestic abuse during their lifetime.

I’m hoping tomorrow will see the start of a better communication between agencies, organisations, groups and individuals. There are lots of wonderful people working in various fields, but there needs to be more done if we are ever going to have an impact on the statistics. We have some wonderful agencies in both Sefton & Liverpool, who do the most amazing work with women and their children who escape abusive relationships, and need help and support. But these agencies have limited resources, and can only do so much. There needs to be, in my opinion, much more work done with young people, to educate them about the types of relationship behaviours that are acceptable and unacceptable.

There needs to be more long term help for women once the agencies have taken them as far as they can. It takes a long time before you ever truly recover, if indeed you do. In many instances women have been so controlled that it takes years for them to function confidently in many areas of day to day living. Plus it is a lonely life if you don’t have someone to share your thoughts, fears and feelings with on a regular basis. And most people don’t understand abuse, so it really needs to be someone who has been through it before.

And finally, we need to alter the way we deal with domestic violence right through society. We need to talk about it and stop breathing life into it by keeping it quiet. And we need to change the way that people perceive victims of abuse. We are not weak, we are not stupid and we are not an easy target. You will have seen in previous blogs two letters of complaint sent to deal with two seperate instances were things happened that shouldn’t have. And they became interlinked. I am pleased to say that the social services complaint was dealt with promptly, courteously and with great compassion, and a full apology was received. The school complaint is as it says ongoing. My abuser told everyone that would listen that I was mentally unstable, and alcoholic, and an unfit mother. I can actually see all the fellow abuse victims nodding as they think, yep, that’s what mine said too.

But society often doesn’t recognise how manipulative these abusers are. And in many instances they naively believe that the words of the abuser are the truth, and arrogantly assume that they can push the survivor around. I said recently on Radio Merseyside that abuse victims and survivors are the true superheroes of this world and I stand by it. Unless you have walked in an abuse victims shoes you have no idea what they go through. They spend each day acting. Trying to keep up appearances of a happy relationship with colleagues, friends and family, trying to keep their children safe, looked after and happy and all the while desperately trying to placate the monster who abuses them. Another classic I love is “but he is a professional”. So was Harold Shipman, this countries most prolific mass murderer. Need I say more?

Well now, I know I won’t get everything I hoped for tomorrow, but it is a start, and a great start, and one I am proud of my city for organising. The women of this city are truly amazing, they are kind, loving and strong. But through our lifetimes, at least a quarter of us will need our city to be kind, loving and strong back. Tomorrow is a huge glimmer of hope for all out cities superheroes!!

Steph xx

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