When He Loves You And Harms You

How short-sighted it is to ask ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash

“If I were brave enough the first time I met you, I’d try to share what torture it is to fall in love with a good man who cannot leave a violent past behind.”

The #MeToo movement has been getting a lot of attention (anyone curious about the debate might enjoy this on March 20th). Yet there are other complicated issues that don’t always get similar levels of airtime.

1. Dig into your partner’s background.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is known as Clare’s Law (named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009).

“Clare’s Law is very important, however many abusers won’t have any kind of official record. The ones that do are just the tip of the iceberg.”

2. Download Hollieguard.

This app was developed by parents of a girl who died from domestic violence. It records and sends information to the cloud, notifies people of your location, and can be put on super discreet mode.

3. Find out your local domestic violence centre.

Depending on where you live, the organisation you will be in touch with is different. Each borough has their own domestic violence centre.

They were there to listen, and they helped me see beyond the reality that was being created for me. And once the situation erupted, talking is what healed, being heard and hearing other people. Seeing that I was not alone, that I was supported and that my experiences were in no way unique or because of my failure as a human.

The best support I had outside friends was from my local Women’s Aid. I was advised to call them by the police, and once I was on their books, they provided support (including practical advice and signposting to legal).

4. Get as much as possible on GP and police records.

If you’re attacked, go see a GP and get a letter about what you’ve experienced (even if its just emotional or psychological). This will help you later on — it’s useful to get as much as possible on GP and police records. This puts it into the system for references to help a case later on.

5. File a non-molestation order.

This does not result in a criminal record for the offender — it is simply a warning to them that they cannot be near you. There is a time limit (i.e. 6 months or 1 year etc).

“The odds are really against victims getting any kind of justice, in many cases the legal processes are as painful and damaging as the original abuse, because you are forced to relieve the experience over and over again, and likely in the end are told that you can’t be fully believed, legally. I am very wary of the legal system now, and feel great pity for any victim embroiled in the processes.”

“On a warm summer day last July, Claire Hart and her 19-year-old daughter Charlotte went for an early morning swim at their local leisure centre in Spalding, Lincolnshire. It was a trip they made often, just a short drive from their home in the village of Moulton. Claire’s son Ryan had recently bought his mother a swimming pass as a present.

At 9am on 19 July, mother and daughter left the pool and made their way back across the car park to their blue Toyota Aygo. As they approached the car, a man crawled out from underneath it: Claire’s husband and Charlotte’s father, Lance Hart, whom the pair had left five days earlier. Now he held up a single-barrel shotgun and shot Claire three times. He then reloaded the gun and shot his daughter, before turning the gun on himself.”

A story by Rossalyn Warren about Lance Hart
Katie Ghose

“Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be. It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers. We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace — unless you’re a woman.

That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”

Writing stories (www.adelebarlow.com) and helping companies tell theirs (www.copyand.co)