It’s International Women’s day.
Today, I am celebrating the nurses, the advocates, the headteacher, the teachers, the social worker, the police officers, the lectures, the Mum’s and the sisters. This is the female army that enabled me to make the most important decision I have ever made, to leave a chronically abusive relationship.
Feeling good for nothing, wearing the scruffiest clothes, hiding behind my mask – I knocked the door of the school. The first step required me to block my emotions, close my eyes and run through the fire, what I found on the other side was nothing less than a miracle. After years of believing I could suffer a bit longer, next week he will be a different person. He never changed. I finally saw the evidence that everything he was poisoning my mind with was complete bullshit, a lie, an act! As he self destructed, he used me as something to trample upon to make himself feel better. The women I list above have saved my life. I remember each conversation, each plan, each step we made to get me away from this toxic situation. Within months of leaving, I have started a new job, I have accepted that time is a healer, despite lacking patience – I thrived within days of leaving. Under the surface of all this pain, I didn’t realise that at my core, a resilient woman was growing every day. With every cruel word, every bruise, every time I had to kneel to ask for money to buy milk and bread, when I was only allowed to do things if it made us money, when I was told to dress a particular way, when I was told to go to bed like a baby. This will stay with me forever but forever I am resilient because of it.
You feel like you will never be able to leave, you will make a million excuses before you act on your suffering. However, you will leave. You will educate yourself, you will begin to wake up from this coma of control and abuse. One thing you must do, is act selfishly for that moment, forget being an inconvenience to people and do not stop talking, if one person doesn’t listen, speak to another. Call Women’s aid, call Refuge, call your Doctor, call your children’s school, call your midwife, call your careers advisor, go to a Hwb, go to a police station, go to leisure centre. If you don’t know what to say, if you are not in immediate danger, act like you are, because when you are being abused – you are constantly in danger. Speak to professionals, who can take the practical steps that family and friends often cannot.
Our communities are tainted with abuse, emotional, physical, online, financial and beyond. By speaking up and leaving, we are standing up against the millions of perpetrators out there.
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