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


SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Facilities and Resources

14/01/2014

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Well it’s been a while… the past 6 months have been amazingly busy and I’ve struggled to keep up, which means that the writing and blogging side of things has had to take a very dim and distant back seat.  This year is also already getting pretty booked up, so I shall be posting as and when I can… hopefully without disappearing for another 6 months.

So the last time I really blogged, it was about the marathon itself in Sierra Leone… and one thing I meant to mention was that of the help I received to actually get out there and do the run safely!  Very often when we embark upon something new it can be daunting, and when it’s to do something physical one of the things we need to make sure is that not only is it going to be possible, but that we can do it safely.  A lot of people already know, some don’t, but one of the main concerns I had for this trip was my hip: I sustained an injury years ago with my karate training which eventually turned into an impingement.  Unfortunately due to the amount of time that had passed by the time I got it sorted out, it was pretty nasty and required open surgery (crutches for 3 months is not much fun).  However, rather than letting something like that stop me from going out there and doing what I wanted, I figured I’d get some help to make sure it was done safely.

Very often when we go to do something new, our lack of awareness about the new “thing” can put us off, we can feel intimidated, unsure and hesitant so one of the best ways to get around this is to look at what facilities and/or resources you have available to you that can help!  Very often people think they actually don’t have any.  Time to open your eyes *grin*… you may be very surprised to find out just what, and who, would like to help you out…

and let’s not forget that if you don’t ask, you may not get help, and by asking… well, that too can be a gift.  Who doesn’t like to feel wanted, needed and know that they are able to help another?  Doesn’t it feel good when you know that someone wants and really appreciates your help?  I’m not talking here about people who constantly “take” and drain you, that’s a whole different ball game.  Here we’re looking at positive boundaries, respect and compassion… all aspects of kindness that we can give to ourselves and others!

In my case, it turned out that a friend I’d met when he taught classes at my local gym had opened up his own business in the City, loved the idea of what I was going out to Sierra Leone to do, and offered to help me by structuring some personal training sessions for me during my lunchtimes.  This was alongside the running and yoga I was already doing and helped to build strength and condition my legs so that I could run a full 13.1 miles without stop.  Of course, that was the plan… but one of the reasons I changed to the full marathon the day before was that I knew I was strong enough to complete the full 26.2 miles, even if I had to walk half of it!

Niron was an absolute godsend… I cannot praise him enough, especially since when the going got a bit tougher and I hit some emotional roadblocks along the way, he then kept me going with added encouragement and helped me to focus on what was really important!

Here he is putting someone through their paces (not me):

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So I guess this post is also a recommendation one… if you’re in the City (London, UK) and want some personal training, whether that be for conditioning, helping you get fit or to meet specific challenges you’ve taken on (including marathon training) then give Niron (or one of the team) a call, and let them know where you heard about them.  Their details are:

Activate+
Templeton House, 33-34 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 8LP

Tel: +44 (0)20 7628 5514
Mob: +44 (0)7835 918 368 / +44 (0)7932 668 505
Email: activateplusstudio@gmail.com

Website:   http://www.activatepluspersonaltraining.com

And remember, someone may be wanting to help you right now, if you would but ask.  So why not reach out a hand and do just that… or offer to someone who may be in need!

Have a great week everyone! 🙂

© 2014 Michelle Payne


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