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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Victim Support – Finding the Strength

19/01/2013

I’ve previously mentioned about listing (and blogging) about charitable organisations.  Today’s is the second such organisation, and one that’s based in the United Kingdom.

Victim Support is an independent charity that has been set up to help victims of crime, and that those witness crime in England and Wales, and according to their website, are the oldest and largest victim’s organisation in the world.  They are a charity and work with the Police as well as running the Witness Service (which is apparently in every court – I have no experience of this having thankfully never had to visit Court so far in my life!) and Victim Supportline (0845 30 30 900) which is a national telephone helpline.

They can provide emotional support (not counselling – the difference is explained on their website, and they can refer victims on to other relevant organisations which do offer counselling help), information and practical help

Taking this straight from their website, they believe that all victims of crime have five basic rights:

*** to receive respect, recognition and support

*** to get information and an explanation about the progress of their case. Victims should also have the chance to explain the financial, physical and emotional effects of the crime and this information should be considered whenever decisions are made about their case

*** to be protected in any way necessary

*** to receive compensation

*** to be free of the burden of decisions relating to the offender. In other words, we believe that the state is responsible for dealing with the offender. It should not be the victim’s responsibility.

They also have Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts should you wish to interact with the organisation on social media sites.  I do follow them on Twitter and retweet posts because a lot of people, even in this social media “savvy” age, seem to be unaware of the work that they do and that may be available to them as a victim of crime.

As with any charitable organisation, funding is hard to come by so help in that arena is always appreciated and they also offer volunteer opportunities, should anyone be looking to either help others on this basis, with specific training given to those who are selected. 

Please visit their website here for much more indepth information that may either be of help to you, or someone you know!  And if you are already a member, please do share with us your thoughts on the organisation, and if you choose to join, let us know why 🙂

The Scottish website can be found here, the Northern Ireland website here, and the Crime Victim Helpline for those in Ireland (telephone: 116 006) can be found here.

All website links have been added to the Resource section of this website.

Namaste

© 2013 Michelle Payne


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