Refuge

07/11/2015

Although I’ve mentioned the charity Refuge briefly on this blog before, this charity does such much needed work that I think it should be highlighted again, and also because the Charity covers the same subject matter that I work with as a volunteer counsellor at a local charity… that of domestic violence and abuse.

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Deliberately hurting, harming and damaging another person shouldn’t happen, but it does. Most people don’t want to acknowledge the existence of such abuse, but it affects so many that every single human being is likely to know at least one person who has experienced a form of it. I mentioned some personal thoughts here when I spoke about choosing this charity to fundraise for with my Triple Continent Challenge.

When people talk to me about domestic abuse, they often have the misguided and wrong belief that it only occurs when a person physically hurts another, such as punching and kicking, black eyes, broken limbs or, a bit further down the scale, torture or murder.

No.

Yes the physical abuse happens. Way too often. But domestic abuse isn’t just this.  Yes, it often does include physical violence, but what about sexual abuse… the partner who has been “conditioned” to never say no to sex? Who is shared with that partner’s friends… pimped? Or worse?

What about financial abuse? All money taken away, no financial support given, not allowed to get a job which could gain the victim some financial freedom?

What about emotional abuse?

Psychological abuse?

Where the victim ends up not knowing what to think, believe?

Where they are repetitively told… conditioned… to believe that they are worth less… worth nothing… that they deserve the treatment they get, that they create it because if it wasn’t for them not doing some thing “right” (such as dinner not on the table at a set time, the cat or dog making too much noise, towels not in a straight line, the children not being quiet, the weather… raining outside… the list is endless!) the abuse wouldn’t happen. It’s not about what someone isn’t doing…

Manipulation, fear and intimidation that is created to maintain control and power.

And this happens across all cultures, all societies, genders, sexuality, income levels, types of relationship, ages.

Just because there are no bruises, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. In the UK the stats are around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men who experience domestic abuse and/or violence. Horrifying numbers. And people don’t speak up, don’t speak out. It’s seen as shameful and weak to have somehow gotten into such a situation in the first place, let alone put up with it for whatever reason (threats of death, children being snatched, taken into care, pets being hurt, being stalked, hunted, not able to survive, no money, no help, no support, no friends, no family, no home, no job)…

Two women a week are murdered by their partner or ex partner, three women a week will kill themselves because they feel they have no other way out from the hell that they are living.

There is help, but it takes a huge amount of courage to take that step forward… a leap of faith… because to everyone else that abuser may be a charmer, wonderful, kind even… because no-one else knows what goes on behind closed doors… because you might not be believed…

and this is where Refuge (in the UK) can help.  They have a helpline which is available 24/7, 7 days a week. They have refuges so someone daring to reach out and escape will not be homeless on the street.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of domestic abuse and/or violence, please get in touch with them.  The Helpline number is: 0808 2000 247.

If you want to know more about domestic abuse, the work that Refuge do, fundraise for them, volunteer with them, or if you need help from them, then please visit their website by clicking here.

Have a great Friday and weekend folks, and perhaps give a hug to someone who needs one!
Michelle

© 2015 Michelle Payne

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I Got Flowers Today

20/03/2013

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I Got Flowers Today

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night,
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn’t mean the things he said.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today,
and it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
And it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids?
What about money?
I’m afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him,
I would not have gotten flowers…today.

By Paulette Kelly


The Broken Child

19/12/2012

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The Broken Child

For children who were broken
it is very hard to mend…
Our pain was rarely spoken
and we hid the truth from friends.

Our parents said they loved us,
but they didn’t act that way.
They broke our hearts and stole our worth,
with the things that they would say.

We wanted them to love us.
We didn’t know what we did
to make them yell at us and hit us,
and wish we weren’t their kid.

They’d beat us up and scream at us
and blame us for their lives.
Then they’d hold us close inside their
arms and tell us confusing lies
of how they really loved us
— even though we were BAD,
and how it was OUR fault they hit us,
OUR fault that they were mad.

When days were just beginning
we sometimes prayed for them to end,
and when the pain kept coming,
we learned to just pretend
that we were good and so were they
and this was just one of those days
…tomorrow we’d be friends.

We had to believe it so.
We had nowhere else to go.
Each day that we pretended,
we replaced reality
with lies, or dreams,
or angry schemes,
in search of dignity ….
until our lies got bigger
than the truth,
and we had no one real to be

Our bodies were forsaken.
With no safe place to hide,
we learned to stop
hearing and feeling
what they did to our outsides.

We tried to make them love us,
till we hated ourselves instead,
and couldn’t see a way out,
and wished that they were dead.
We scared ourselves by thinking that
and scared ourselves to know,
that we were acting just like them
–and might ever more be so.

To be half the size of a grown-
up and trapped inside their pain….
To every day lose everything
with no savior or refrain…
To wonder how it is possible
that God could so forget
the worthy child you knew you were,
when you had not been damaged yet …

To figure on your fingers
the years till you’d be grown
enough to leave the torment
and survive away from home,
were more than you could count to,
or more than you could bear,
was the reality we lived in
and we knew it wasn’t fair.

We who grew up broken
are somewhat out of time,
struggling to mend our childhood,
when our peers are in their prime.
Where others find love and contentment,
we still often have to strive
to remember we are worthy,
and heroes just to be alive.

Some of us are healing.
some of us are stealing.
Most are passing the anger on.
Some give their lives away to drugs,
or the promise of like beyond.
Some still hide from society.
Some struggle to belong.
But all of us are wishing
the past would not hold on so long.

There’s a lot of digging down to do
to find the child within,
to love away the ugly pain
and feel innocence again.
There is forgiveness worthy of angel’s
wings for remembering those at all,
who abused our sacred childhood
and programmed us to fall.
To seek to understand them,
and how their pain became our own,
is to risk the ground we stand on
to climb the mountain home.

The journey is not so lonely
as in the past it has been …
More of us are strong enough
to let the growth begin.
But while we’re trekking up the mountain
we need everything we’ve got,
to face the adults we have become,
and all that we are not.

So when you see us weary
from the day’s internal climb …
When we find fault with your best efforts,
or treat imperfection as purposeful crime …
When you see our quick defenses,
our efforts to control,
our readiness to form a
plan of unrealistic goals …
When we run into a conflict
and fight to the bitter end,
remember ….
We think that winning means
we won’t be hurt again.

When we abandon OUR thoughts and feelings,
to be what we believe YOU want us to,
or look at trouble we’re having,
and want to blame it all on you…
When life calls for new beginnings,
and we fear they re doomed to end,
remember…
Wounded trust is like a wounded knee–
It is very hard to bend.

Please remember this
when we are out of sorts.
Tell us the truth, and be our friend.
For children who were broken…
it is very hard to mend.

~~ Elia Wise ~~


Image origin: Unknown, found circulating on Facebook

With thanks to Serena Poor for sharing this on my Facebook page!


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