If it's not me, or her, or her, that means it could be you!

I know that sounds like one of those jokes doesn't it? Those awful jokes? One in four people are something or other. However, in this case it's not a joke. It's real-life.

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lives.

Bit of a shocker isn't it? 1 in 4! I would never have anticipated it to be as high as that, but unfortunately it is.

I'm not about to confess here that I have been the victim of domestic violence, because I haven't: I'm lucky. I've witnessed it, and I've seen the aftermath. I've seen the woman scared, petrified for her children above herself. I've felt her fear, and on her behalf, I've felt the felt the fury and anger that this is happening to her.

Together Refuge and Avon are working to help raise awareness of this massive problem in our society.

Domestic violence is not about a row going wrong or someone losing control.

Domestic violence is all about control. Domestic violence is the repeated, deliberate use of control by one partner over another. It's bullying, plain and simple. We teach the children in school that bullying is deliberate and repeated. Domestic violence is the same thing. It's done for power, to make the perpetrator feel better about themselves.

I belong to a toddler group which focuses on raising money for playgroups etc. in the area. Last year it was our tenth anniversary and we gave a larger grant than we've ever given before, to the county's women's refuge. The manager of the centre came out to talk to us about life for the residents. We sat in the host's plushy sitting room with our Pinot Grigio's sparkling with the condensation from the balmy summer's evening. Very soon, the glasses weren't the only things chilled as we heard censored and edited versions of these women's stories.

Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual.

I know that the Refuge & Avon campaign to raise awareness centres on domestic violence, but I just wanted to highlight that not every victim is a literal punchbag, some are emotional ones.

One resident of the centre at the time was a middle-class SAHM to two teenage daughters in private single-sex schools. A nice life on the surface, however, the husband had CCTV in every room in the house so he could see what his recluse wife was constantly up to. And a chauffeur collected the daughters from the deliberately chosen school so as to prevent any dalliances with friends. They were prisoners. It was emotional and financial abuse. It was deliberate and it was repetitive.

One day, the wife walked out of the house and turned up at the office of the refuge centre. Arranging for her and her daughters to turn up later, she collected them from school and never went home. She was lucky that she had a place there. Other women in need may have to be taken to refuges over 80 miles from their hometown to find somewhere that has a space.

Here are some rather startling statistics about domestic violence:

  • One woman in four will experience domestic violence at some point in her life.
  • Up to two women are killed by current or former partners every week in England and Wales.
  • Every single day in the UK, 30 women attempt suicide as a result of domestic violence.
  • The police receive a domestic violence call every minute in the UK.
  • In 90% of domestic violence incidents in family households children are in the same or the next room. 50% of those children are directly abused.
  • Only 16% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police – the majority of women suffer in silence.

Do you know what stands out from that list: Only 16% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police but they only receive one call every minute.

Brings it home how frequent it is, doesn't it?

One last thought to leave you with. This one things sticks in my mind from our enlightening evening a year ago.

Most acts of domestic violence occur after a sporting match.

I can no longer bear to watch sports on television, or hear the encouragement coming through windows in the neighbourhood because I know what is going to happen at the end of the programme.

For more information please visit 1in4women.com, or their Facebook page.

I was asked to blog about this but I was not paid for it, nor would I have accepted any payment. Facts and statistics have come from www.1in4women.com

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  1. says

    I think it's a shame that sport is blamed for this. There are plenty of sports fans who don't beat other people up cos their team loses or the person they support performs badly, least of all their partners. It's the lack of control of their emotions and respect for others that they have not achieved and learned from their upbringing.

    Great post – definitely a fantastic cause. There are so many hidden stories out there, such a shame.

  2. says

    It is so sad that so many women (and some men) and children are so run down that they cannot get the help that the need.

    I also think that it is a shame that sport is to blame.

  3. Susan says

    My mum was a victim of domestic violence in her first marriage. Looking at your statistics I can [sadly] say that these ones relate to her:

    One woman in four will experience domestic violence at some point in her life.
    Every single day in the UK, 30 women attempt suicide as a result of domestic violence.
    Only 16% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police – the majority of women suffer in silence.

    She didn't tell anyone, to this day her own mother doesn't know what went on. Her husband would punch her where no one could see. He did knock a tooth out once though, she went to her dentist and he knew exactly what was going on and advised her to go to the police.
    There was one problem, her husband was a policeman, if they knew he beat her he would be thrown out, and then things would've been a whole lot worse.
    She ended up one day sat at a table with tablets and a bottle of Vodka. She phoned the Samaritans and they thankfully talked her out of it.

    Their marriage eventually collapsed but the thing that kept her there for so long was that he was always sorry after he did it. And because she loved him, she believed him.

    When her marriage to my dad ended my nan (dads mum) turned round and said that it wouldn't surprise her if my mum made the domestic violence story up for attention.
    Which 10 years on, I still can't get my head around.

    Posts like this certainly help raise awareness. Thank you for posting it.

  4. Alli Marshall says

    What a scary statistic, makes me thankful for what I have.
    I have experienced domestic violence, it happened to someone I was very close to. This lady would make up excuses when she had a black eye, she would never leave the man though as she loved him.
    I'm going to make sure items we no longer need are given to a local women's refuge from now on.

  5. KatieB says

    I've spoken to and advised a lot of women who have experienced domestic violence and one of the scariest things was that many of them didn't actually realise they were being abused! If I hadn't asked certain questions then the information wouldn't have been forthcoming and the utterance of the words 'domestic abuse' was very often met with 'but he doesn't hit me' Some of the stories I heard were extremely chilling and didn't just include husbands and wives but wider members of the family unit as well.

    One of my clients used to have to feed and clothe herself and six children on her family benefit alone. Her husband claimed other benefits for the whole family but because there was a disability element and they were claimed in his name, he considered it was 'his' money and neither she or the children saw any of it. I've also seen lots of cases (including this one) where the abuser is so manipulative that the victim has to either accept their situation or leave without their children, especially if the children are older, and in such cases will have very little or no contact afterwards.

    Thank you so much for raising awareness. There are ways that victims can be helped but unless they realise first that it's not acceptable to be treated in such a way they won't even begin to consider seeking help.

  6. says

    I didn't know it was that much! Surely that means it must have affected a lot of people i know… Without it being made public. Really shocking. The CCTV guy is just awful. I know of women that have gone through stuff like this and yet, sadly, they have stayed in the relationship because of stigma / family / kids / god only knows why.


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