White Ribbon Day – Take the pledge to speak out this November 25th
If you haven’t done so already, take the pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
In Little Eden I explore the issue of domestic violence. Marcus and Linnet Finch have been in an abusive relationship for years and Marcus returns for more. He also abuses Peony. Why did I choose to portray domestic violence?
My own experience is of mental and emotional abuse and I have helped many women through difficult relationships where they have had to leave their husbands.
It is frightening and traumatising when you do not feel safe in your own home. Linnet was able to get help from the Little Eden Refuge and found a new life for herself and Alice but Marcus represents the karma which still haunts them both.
As humans we carry with us unresolved relationships where forgiveness has not yet been possible. Healing and acceptance has to happen before forgiveness is reached which can be a long and painful process and in some cases, until safety is found, that healing cannot even begin.
Emotional ties can be transformed so that we do not re-incarnate into the same experiences over and over again. The spiritual journey is about coming to understand that life as a human has to ultimately be judged only with compassion if we are to be free of our fears and the experiences we have had. It is not just the victim who needs to transform the energy but the perpetrator as well. Self-forgiveness is perhaps the hardest of all. This healing journey is not easy but it is possible. There can be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Forgiveness and compassion do not excuse dangerous behaviour and I am in no way suggesting them as alternatives to speaking out, reporting abuse and lawful punishment. Making excuses for an abuser is something we all do. Forgiveness is for the soul, safety comes first.
Linnet will go on a long journey towards her release from the abuse she has experienced but you can walk with her on her path throughout the series of Little Eden novels.
If you are reading this and feel you need help in anyway, there are helplines you can call. In the UK you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline Freephone 0808 2000 247.
Women’s Aid also gives help and advice: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/
For men you can get help and advice at: http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/
How do you know if you are receiving or giving out domestic abuse?
Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as ‘an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
- Psychological and/or emotional abuse
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Harassment and stalking
- Online or digital abuse’
A report by the National Statistics office for England and Wales for 2017 showed that in one year there were 1.9 million adults subject to domestic abuse but only 46 arrests. 70% of all attacks were on women. But domestic violence is not all against women. HGHelpGuide describes domestic abuse against men in the following way:
‘An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets.
Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence. Emotional and verbal abuse can be just as damaging. As a male, your spouse or partner may:
- Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media.
- Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
- Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
- Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
- Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
- Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids if you report the abuse.’
White Ribbon UK encourages everyone to speak out; ‘If you want to take your action further still, we encourage men to become Ambassadors for White Ribbon UK; we also have a new Champions programme for the high number of women that support the campaign. Public sector services, school, university, music venue and sports clubs, can apply for accreditation on the campaigns.’
Forgiveness takes years and we can often feel we have achieved it but then the fear rises again and anger, depression, anxiety and self-hate take us over. I have found that using the consciousness of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama in prayer boosts your inner ability to forgive a thousand fold. They both leave behind them a consciousness of forgiveness and reconciliation which can be used by humans for centuries to come. For a forgiveness prayer you may like to try click on 21st Century Prayers