Many of our readers have left relationships that have been punctuated by domestic abuse – be that physical, sexual, mental, or a combination.
Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women at some point in their lifetimes. An average of two women are killed every week by a partner or former partner. Recent statistics from the Women’s Aid Annual Survey show that last year an estimated 109,000 women and 39,000 children accessed support and services through Women’s Aid’s national network of services.
Whilst those are significant numbers, sadly many survivors of domestic abuse receive no help or support in dealing with the issues abuse raises, and sadly therefore run the risk of taking those issues forward into another relationship, or even simply become too scared to have a future relationship, on the basis that no relationship is better than what they have been through.
However, with help and support, survivors of abuse can go forward to have perfectly healthy relationships… but to go forward (at all, never mind to go forward into a new relationship) survivors need help. Help that sadly, is too often lacking.
So where on earth do you go to receive the help that you deserve and need?
One avenue is Women’s Aid, the charity which has a sole aim to end violence against women and children. On Wednesday 25th November 2009, Women’s Aid celebrated 35 years of working to end violence against women and children by releasing their first charity single, ‘Take My Hand’.
The song has been written especially for the charity to help them raise vital funds to support abused women and children. The single is sung by 13 year old classical singer Olivia Aaron, with Natasha Benjamin, a real-life survivor of domestic violence. The song is based on the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, ‘Sonata Pathétique’ and its lyrics are an expression of the emotions experienced by women and children affected by domestic abuse.
Duncan Bannatyne, the star of the BBC show “Dragons Den”, is a huge supporter of the charity. He begs that those that can download the single to support the work the charity does in supporting survivors and attempting to eliminate domestic abuse, do so. As he says “All profits go to extinguishing domestic abuse which has no place in our society”. Women’s Aid Chief Executive, Nicola Harwin CBE, said: “Take My Hand has been written especially for Women’s Aid and reflects the hopes and needs of women and children on their journey towards a future free from violence. We hope it will reach out to those affected by domestic violence as well as the wider public. We want to raise awareness of the support available and raise vital funds so that we can continue to provide specialist support services.”
To buy Take My Hand for 79p, please go to www.apple.com/itunes.
Woman’s Aid isn’t the only charity working hard to eradicate domestic abuse in our society. Refuge (http://refuge.org.uk/ ) has the same aims as Women’s Aid. Refuge, together with Avon, have recently launched a new campaign to encourage women and men all over the UK to speak out against the huge problem of domestic violence in our society.
The charity quite rightly notes that despite the breathtaking scale of domestic violence, one in three local authorities still do not have any domestic violence service provision. They seek your help in ending this postcode lottery to ensure that all women and children experiencing domestic violence can access the help they need.
Refuge wishes to honour the 72 women who have been killed by a partner or former partner in the last year by encouraging people to speak out.
Andy Overton, brother to Rebecca Kowel, who was stabbed to death by her partner Robert Byrom 8 May 2008, says: “My sister Rebecca was killed by a violent and controlling man who gave her over 170 separate injuries. Her death could have been prevented, but instead she has been taken from us forever. I hope that no other family has to go through what we’ve been through. This is why I am backing the Refuge campaign in the hope that we can prevent more women like Rebecca dying at the hands of abusive men.”
You can find out more about the Refuge campaign here http://www.fourwaystospeakout.com/
However you obtain your help, please do seek it. All three of the organizations mentioned are there for you. If you are able to help support the two charities we have mentioned please do so. As a postscript the author would like to mention that we wholly acknowledge that domestic abuse also affects men, and we shall try our best to bring you an article focusing on that issue in January.