As many of you know from previous posts I have been in abusive relationships in the past and survived. Not all women do unfortunately. Last week I was lucky enough to see the Women’s quilt. If you have not heard of this it is a project started by Roxanne Ellis. The quilt has a patch for every woman who were killed by a partner or former partner between 2009 and 2015. How many women would you guess would have been killed in this way in the UK during those 6 years? If I told you it averaged one a week you would be shocked wouldn’t you?
I can tell you however it doesn’t average one a week. The number of women killed due to domestic abuse between 2009 and 2015 was 598. That works out at almost 2 per week. Numbers don’t really tell you the story though do they and it is hard to imagine. The quilt was put together by people across the world making the patches and then it all being assembled. The square for each of these women was made individually with that woman in mind. Where possible they have found out something about the woman to depict on the square to make it as personal as possible. Of course given that many victims of domestic abuse are isolated by their partners that was not always possible.
Why don’t these women leave if their partner is violent? Why don’t the families help? How does it lead to them being killed? All questions you could well be thinking. It isn’t always that simple though. After leaving my abusive relationships I have had counselling which has helped so much. I have also done the freedom programme which aims to look at early warning signs of abusive relationships. The freedom programme also helps survivors to see and accept all the abuse they suffered. It is often hard to see some of the things that happened as abuse because they have become normal to you.
As a survivor who’s ex partners that were abusive were not convicted please forgive me for not sharing too much detail. Obviously it is difficult due to the risk of being accused of slander etc. As such I will not be sharing too detailed information and will refer to the two relationships as A and B. Man A was both physically abusive/threatening and emotionally controlling. In this relationship whilst I was pushed a few times, threatened and had a knife held to my neck, I was never in fear of my life. In the back of my mind I very much saw it as angry controlling behaviour that was to scare me rather than actually hurt me. I guess due to the relationship ending I will never know where it could have lead. He does however have a police caution on record for physically assaulting a baby. I was supported following this relationship by Women’s Aid.
Man B told me from the beginning of the relationship that he had been violent to his ex and had been arrested previously for assault etc. He was only physically aggressive once and otherwise it was all controlling and isolating me. The fear of violence was very high though as he often told me when he had been out without me that he had punched someone in a car park for example for giving him a “funny” look. In this relationship I was controlled from the start, it was like a dripping tap, he started with just little things but gradually the dripping got worse and the control got stronger. I left a few times, once into a refuge, but each time I went back. During our relationship he often told me how easy it would be to kill someone with a gun and he was in the process of getting a shot gun (legally with the police license etc) when I decided the relationship was over. Whilst he said he wanted a gun to try out clay pigeon shooting I am personally not so sure. I will never know. There is no police record for him however the police do have recorded the times I contacted them and my accusations. There was no evidence to proceed. I will always wonder if I hadn’t managed to end the relationship whether I would be one of the statistics. I was supported by Nottingham Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid.
What can you do to help?
There are a few things you can do to help. Some are easier than others so do bear with me!
Spread the Word about Domestic Abuse – Share this post or any other articles you see about domestic abuse anywhere. Make it less of a taboo subject. There is no reason it shouldn’t be talked about because then even if one more woman comes forward for help and leaves an abusive relationship it is worth it.
Spread the Word about The Women’s Quilt – By showing others the quilt we can all accept what a big problem this is realise how important it is. If an average of two people a week were dying due to being bitten by a dog it would be big national news. This needs to be!
Donate to Women’s Aid or Refuge – These frontline charities help women with the practical and emotional struggles of leaving an abusive relationship. Without charities like refuge offering safe accommodation when you leave an abusive relationship I have no doubt the statistics would be higher. You don’t have to donate much because every little helps.
The Women’s Quilt Facebook Group can be found here.
The Go Fund Me page to help raise money for the Quilt and it travelling to raise awareness etc is here.
Instagram and Twitter pages for the quilt are @thewomensquilt.
Research about the statistics of women killed by their partner can be found on the Women’s Aid website.
Some more information about the women is here.
If you feel you need help to leave an abusive relationship you can call the Domestic Violence Helpline. Remember it doesn’t have to be physically violent to be abuse. The helpline number is: