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.
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