I would love to be writing this with an observation that the number of women killed in domestic abuse murders had dropped but sadly this isn’t the case.
I would love to be able to say that women now seem to have a greater understanding of what makes a domestic abuse perpetrator, but alarmingly the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy has damaged the ability of women and girls seeing this by romanticising all the traits that we should be warned about.
I would love to say that the media and the courts treat domestic abuse victims fairly and understand the complex nature of this hideous crime…unfortunately the disgusting treatment of witness Nigella demonstrate how more than often it’s the victim that is put on trial rather than the abuser.2013 has demonstrated how much things need to change.
2013 has shown me from a domestic abuse awareness campaigners perspective that there is a huge need for education from a very early age in schools to prevent teens suffering in abusive relationships. We need to teach early to prevent the ingrained opinions that somehow domestic abuse is a “private matter” or that the victim must have done something or said something to make the abuser act that way. We need to act early so that young impressionable girls who may be reading books like 50 shades don’t think that having a powerful, controlling man who tells them what to wear, what to eat, demands to know everyone they talk to, monitors their emails etc is in any way “romantic” or “sexy”. They need to be made aware that this is domestic abuse – and in real life relationships like this kill 2 women per week in the UK.2013 has had its ups and downs as a campaigner.
At the beginning of the year I had what I thought was an invincible team of women around me all campaigning for the same cause. My low point this year was when I was let down badly by one person I had trusted to be part of the group and had agreed to her joining as admin on a twitter account I had been working on. This individual developed a campaign of hatred against another DV campaigner and lost sight of the cause that we had believed she was fighting for aswell (which was to unite as survivors and raise awareness of the abhorrent crime of domestic abuse). Her focus on attacking the other campaigner was relentless and she soon turned onto me and another member of the group when we refused to join in the attack. I had made it clear from the onset that my focus was to raise awareness not to attack others. In her eyes it was not acceptable for us to refuse to join in with her campaign of attack and therefore she made up allegations that we were some sort of “security threat” to her and were passing information to the “enemy”. Her unfound allegations and ability to manipulate meant that two of us could no longer continue working on the account that we had put a lot of hard work and effort into. It is very revealing that as soon as we were off the account she added her full real name to the account as “co-runner” and location to her own twitter (hardly the actions of someone who is security conscious).
Raising awareness of the abuse in 50 shades is hugely important to us, we have been tweeting since the books were published and we wanted to continue our work so we set up @50shadesisabuse which is purely focused on domestic abuse and raising awareness of the unhealthy relationship portrayed in the book. I am proud to say that this account will never use bullying tactics to bring down other domestic abuse campaigners even if they are raising awareness in a way that we don’t choose to. The other member who runs this account is a fantastic person – she’s a domestic abuse survivor, who has endured her own real life Christian Grey, like I did. I trust her whole heartedly to continue the hard work in the same vein as we started in the original account. If you aren’t a follower already please follow us on @50shadesisabuse and retweet to help promote awareness.
I am pleased and very proud to say that the other women in the group we have for DV Campaigners have continued to keep their focus on raising awareness of domestic abuse. They’re tireless in their campaigns dedicating hours of their own time with the aim of preventing other women suffering as we did at the hands of an abuser. This amazing group of women keep me motivated and I would like to thank them for that. I’m sure that their good work will continue into 2014 and beyond….and slowly but surely we will make a difference.