Monthly Archives: November 2019

The bit I don’t much talk about -International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2019

I talk about Domestic abuse a lot on my blog . I think it’s so important to tell our stories ,kill some of the shame we carry and let other women going through the same know they are not alone .

I can talk for hours about coercive control , I can wax lyrical on emotional abuse . I can point out the subtle signs , I can talk of how I’ve managed to heal.

The actual violence I suffered though ? I struggle a little more with. I still carry shame . I shouldn’t , but you know what reinforces that shame? Flippant comments from people (who are generally trying to be nice but just don’t understand how abuse works ) Things like:

“why did you put up with it so long ?”

“If a guy ever hit me I’d be out the door ”

It puts the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator and a lot of shame does come with that.

There’s also the fact that I minimise it still . Born from years and years of doing this whilst in the relationship.

Oh it was just….

It could have been worse …

I shouldn’t have….

All unhelpful ,but I try to be honest in my blog about life after abuse and some skewed thought patterns do stick.

What I really wanted to talk about though was how the men who domestically abuse women and use violence towards women are often just normal guys . You see them on the school run . You work with them . You are maybe even friends with them. These men ,these domestic terrorists generally I’ve learnt have something in common .

“They’d never do anything like that”

“They’d never hurt a fly”

“They’re not the type”

There’s something in us as a society that cannot deal with the fact these men are normal guys . They’re not running about with red eyes or a danger sign tattooed on their forehead. They’re just getting you a coffee in the office , showing you pics of their kids at a dinner party,making conversation with you (probably about how much they abhor guys who hit women)

The violence I’ve experienced at the hands of men really is a total spectrum. From the man who grabbed my arse in a club (I can imagine people rolling their eyes at this. Thinking this isn’t violence…but being touched without permission is violence , it is aggression ,it is total lack of respect for boundaries and the upmost sense of entitlement with these men) right through to being beaten unconscious.

Not at all men who’ve been violent have been in relationships with me. It’s not all domestic abuse. I’m sure most women reading this if they really thought have been pushed or grabbed at some point in their lives .

Violence is the ultimate way to keep someone in their place . Couldn’t get much more basic.

The first time I ever experienced violence from a male I was a teenager . I had a boyfriend and it was my friends birthday. This was pre kids so lets face it I had the kind of figure I didn’t even appreciate back then. I’d put on a tiny dress , it was summer and spaghetti straps were all the rage ! My boyfriend at the time got very jealous me going out looking nice and whilst I was on the phone to my pal (in a phone box …yes I’m that old!) He scratched all down my arms (his thinking being then I’d have to cover up I guess) I didn’t even react , I carried on talking to my friend,then put down the phone and stormed home . This has continued to be my reaction to violence throughout. Just shock and unable to know what to do and therefore do nothing.

This was definitely the case in the major abusive relationship in my life. The first time he was violent was in a cinema carpark,because I liked a film we saw (American Beauty) and he hated it. Whilst I was trying to explain some bits of the film I thought were interesting he took that to mean I was being condescending and punched me in the face. Hard enough to knock me to the floor . What did I do ? Got up and walked home.

And so on and so on ….through all the years ….the spitting and biting and hair pulling and slapping and kicking and punching . Everytime ,I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing . I blanked it out and got on with what I needed to do . I can see now (thanks therapist) this was a survival mechanism, an unhealthy , unhelpful one but one that did ultimately keep me alive.

I’ve gone into detail with these two incidents because I don’t think the men who did those things probably could. I think in their heads they’ll have changed things up a bit ….decided that these were just arguments in their heads maybe . I know though , I’ll always know and they must deep down somewhere, they have to . How could you not remember hurting someone you claimed to love .

These guys won’t have those incidents in their minds when they’re chatting with you over coffee though ? When they’re commenting on a news report of a woman murdered in her home. They’ll be outwardly horrified ,who could do that they’ll hand wring?

Maybe you confide in them about abuse you’ve suffered …. they’ll tell you they cannot stand men that hurt women .

I guess my point really is that abusive men don’t stand out in a crowd ,well they sometimes do actually. Those of us who have done The Freedom Programme are equipped to spot it these days . As always I highly recommend doing this if you’ve suffered any kind of domestic abuse be it emotional, sexual , physical. It might just save your life or your sanity.

Mostly though you’d not automatically spot a man who is violent to his partners. He’s probably quite charming, vulnerable even . Not that type.

So if a woman tells you he IS this type :

Please believe her .

Please help her.

Please don’t judge her.

Please don’t use the victim blaming lines I talked about earlier.

Telling someone may have just been the bravest thing that she has ever done .

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Don’t rain on my parade !!

Are you singing???

I’ve got to tell you using songs from musicals as blog titles just happens I don’t plan it! I think in an alternate universe my life should have been one long musical …

Anyway,I digress (still the name of my autobiography by the way don’t steal it !)

I’ve spoken here on the blog about how I’m excited to turn 40 and I’m still very much of that mindset. What could maybe feel a bit depressing with the whole getting older thing I just feel is maybe an opportunity for a new phase of my life . The end of my 30’s isn’t sad for me . It just feels as though turning 40 is like when you’d go back to school after the summer holidays and have those blank exercise books and you’d do your absolute neatest handwriting on that gorgeous,crisp ,blank page .

I have a list (course I do ) not of things I want to do before 40 because that’s a lot of pressure, but things I want to do when I turn 40. All positive things , all things that cause no bother to anyone elses life. Nothing I need help from anyone else with. Just some personal goals to really give my 40’s the positive kick start they deserve .

It’s here (the official list is actually more colourful and written in glitter gel pens but they don’t photograph so well!)

I think it’s quite a modest list .

Here though is where the parade rainer- onners come in .

I’m a bit giddy when I’m excited …I want to tell everyone all about my grand plans. This ,my friends, is where you really get to see people .

Surprisingly even my children are supportive and positive about my plans .

“How’s your Italian coming along mum ”

” How’s the writing going ?”

“You know noone wants to come to Mull with you right? ”

Ok so the last one doesn’t sound so supportive but as it clearly says on the list go somewhere quiet alone I’m taking it .

The few people I do trust to be on board with my plans really are !They ask and seem interested (appreciate it even if they’re bored of me !)

Then there are …..the others ….the sneerers that are present in my life . I wrote all about them here , you’ll probably recognise them.

I don’t know if you guys have these kind of people in your life . People who whenever you try to be positive try to stick a big old rain cloud in . You say you’re going for dinner somewhere nice for them to tell you about their friend who went there and got food poisoning? You say you’re starting a new hobby and they used to do that but broke their ankle and ruined their life . You say you got a brand new dress and they tell you it’ll be half price in the sales next week and you’ve wasted your money ?!!

I hope some of you are nodding along here otherwise I really need to take a hard look at my life !!

Whyyyyyyy??

Why would you see someone is happy and giddy and try to make them miserable (I’m no psychologist but my guess is because they’re pretty miserable people with no ambition and so they just want everyone to feel like them)

My list isn’t going to impact negatively on anyone’s life but my puppy dog enthusiasm about it seems to be threatening to some!!

So I have to hear how I’m not the right shape for running (effing nonsense ) How I definitely won’t do a marathon because well…you know they’re pretty hard (hmmm yeah they are ,but so is birthing and raising 4 kids . So is leaving a long abusive relationship . So is ….well putting on duvet covers actually yet here I am , doing it !)

Urgh you’ve been saying you’re finishing that book forever …yawn…

(True I have . I’m a little temperamental though . Also full of anxiety and imposter syndrome when it comes to writing. So I’ve binned the whole thing in a strop/fit of self loathing many a time and had to start from scratch. Not necessarily a bad thing !)

I’m excited to be 40 , I’m excited to see how many things on my list I can do before the year is out. I’m excited to then make a 41 list.

I am , by nature , an optimist .

The realist in me knows maybe all the list won’t get ticked off but I’m still ready to give it a good old go !!

So let’s join together and turn the other cheek to all the negative voices and sneerers.

Let’s stick with good old Barbra and sing at the top of our lungs about not letting anyone rain on our parades !!!

*afterthought..see the list IS realistic because if it wasn’t – being leading lady in a West End show would DEFINITELY be up there .

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