In speaking up about the abuse Anna Larke did something that I have not felt able to do and for this I personally would like to thank her. Taking this case to court was such a courageous thing to do, one that I admire and one that I wish I'd had the guts to do. So why didn't I ......well there's a number of reasons:
- Fear is the main one, the "threat of violence" that we've all been hearing about doesn't just go away....even when the relationship has long been over - the abuser is still out there and even the thought of facing him again brings back the fear
- Would I be believed? People who know my abuse might describe him as funny, charming etc the same way as JLC was described .
- I didn't want my life to be under public scrutiny, its hard to admit you've been abused
- Some people blame the victim...and I'm not sure I could've handled that when I am speaking the truth. Its the victim blaming culture that is part of the reason domestic abuse victims are so reluctant to speak up.
The victim blaming towards Anna Larke has been shocking. Supporters of JLC have attacked her for ruining his career. Firstly, the only person to blame for that is JLC.....he chose to abuse so should be prepared to take the consequences. Secondly, do these people really put someone's career ahead of the safety of a human being? If they do their priority list needs a huge shake up. He abused her over a period of time and destroyed her spirit, and if she hadn't left the relationship who knows how it might of ended. The stats showing that 2 women a week die from this crime should surely put this is perspective .....career loss or loss of life...now which is worse?
Oh of course then there are the attacks from people who are friends with JLC or who have worked with him saying they don't believe her because he was "a nice guy" , "charming", "always polite" etc . These people seem to be completely lacking knowledge of what domestic abuse is, in fact its called "a hidden crime" for a reason! The real abusive characteristics are even hidden from the victim to start with otherwise they'd never get a girlfriend. Abusers woo, charm and create the excitement that is required to get their victim hooked before the abuse starts drip feeding through. Often women are unaware of what is happening to them until its too late and they are so deep in the circle of abuse its hard to find a way out.
So in response to the people who have leapt forward to defend JLC's " impeccable" character....No you won't have experienced the name calling, the shouting and swearing in your face, the gritting of his teeth, the spitting at you, the dragging by your hair, the pushing and shoving, the threatening to kill you....because the abuse wasn't directed at you. It was the victim that suffered this and she will have experienced this side as well as just enough "Mr Nice Guy" for her to make excuses for him and keep her trapped in the abusive relationship.
Then there are the people that think she did this for the money......erm what money exactly? Anna dealt with this in precisely the way it should have been dealt with...in a court of law. If she had just wanted money I am sure there would have been lots of tabloids ready to pay her huge sums of money to sell her story. This was by no means the easiest route to take as by doing so she opened her life up to the public. The statement released after the guilty verdict demonstrates that Anna's family are committed to raising awareness of domestic abuse so that others do not suffer in the way she did.
What Anna did want is justice and acknowledgement that what she and others with similar abusive ex's suffered was criminal, she was brave and took to the stand to speak up for all to hear about the domestic abuse that she had suffered and I for one thank her immensely for this.