As a woman I am concerned that there is still so much violence against women.
The statistics show;
- One in 4 women will be experiencing domestic violence at any one time.
- Upwards of 84% of women are raped by men they knew.
- Acquaintance rape is at least 4 times as likely as stranger rape.
- Violence towards women cuts across all boundaries of social group, class, age, race, disability, sexuality & lifestyle.
- One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.
- On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.
Not only is this unacceptable, it’s often not prioritised – adding to the lack of self-worth one may be experiencing during or after an assault on your person.
A number of years back, I was delighted to be attending a weekend training course on Radical Self Defence in Glasgow, organised and delivered by some wonderful visiting London Feminists, covering this sensitive subject.
It was hugely successful as we completed a variety of exercises, including role play to identify inappropriate social or familial conditioning or lack of confidence in being visible and verbal – finally tackling the physical as we punched and kicked out our frustrations on the kick-pads. It was exhausting, informative and enjoyable.
Within a short space of time I had incorporated my own style with additional exercises and adapted martial applications; throwing some fun experiences into the mixture to lighten up the subject matter.
For many, dealing with violence in the home isolates them from the support they need and deserve, as they may not confide in anyone else for fear of being stigmatised or humiliated. Most women (and men) swear that they’ll never allow it to happen again – yet it does.
Many more are so ground down by it they have such low-self-esteem they barely function, let alone seek help. For others it’s too late, death takes them suddenly and sometimes without warning.
If there are children to consider please bear in mind that they are entitled to a place of safety too. The stress endured by children can leave them scarred for life, some may even require counselling to avoid long-term effects of trauma.
The good news is that there are many things you can learn about yourself; your boundaries, your weaknesses and strengths as well as developing new skills in self-confidence and in keeping yourself as safe as possible.
Awareness is the key – being aware of your surroundings, people in your circles and of the power you possess as an individual. All too often we believe that we are powerless, when in fact we are powerful!
With the right support structures we can build networks of people around us who we can trust. The most trusted of those is Women’s Aid who have a national 24 hour helpline in the UK and offices in most cities and towns – the number is in the link. Please use it for practical advice or just an ear to listen, as you work through a difficult time.
There is no shame in seeking support from other women, especially those who have made it their life mission to help us, and some of whom may have first-hand experience of the situation.
Using violence in any relationship is abusive; there is no excuse for it.
I’m also fully aware that domestic violence is not solely perpetrated by men. There’s a fair proportion of this violence aimed towards men in heterosexual relationships with people in same-sex partnerships experiencing this too.
There are a number of agencies who specifically deal with gender violence, lending support to anyone experiencing fear in the home; seek them out, get advice and get help but above all, don’t place yourself in dangerous situations.
The police take strong actions against violence at home, so if you feel the need to contact them because you are being threatened or are experiencing abuse, contact their Domestic Violence Unit serving your area.
If you feel that you are in a violent, or potentially violent situation, seek that help NOW.
If you think this type of training would be beneficial for your group, please contact me directly.