I have 1,408 friends on Facebook. Some who are male but if all of them were women based in Ireland they would have the wonderful help of Women’s Aid to assist them to get out of rotten marriages/relationships or abusive situations
Before I experience marital abuse I presumed that Women’s Aid was there for others but I’d never need them. Yet I was the number 1 in that 5 who used my mobile to call them in the middle of the night on numerous occasions but just hung up again as I lacked the courage to face the fact that I was being abused.
But I can still see the rocking chair I sat on in the dead of night and made that call, the first of many calls which lead to appointments and finally a whole new life of freedom for me. Freedom came at a cost and that cost was relocation to the city after a life time of village and small town life. But once i got established in my job after I few years I used that job to relocate back to a small town by the sea. Bliss, I now live my life not my job living my life and that life is abuse free.
On the 25/11/15 I was blessed to be able to attend a conference in Dublin organised by Women’s Aid Ireland . The theme of the conference was “Digital Abuse Of Women” To me digital abuse is nothing new as I have experienced this abuse but I learned so much from all the guest speakers. Also its a shocking embarressment and disgrace that our current Irish legislation is not equipped to deal with this crime against innocent people. The Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan spoke well and while I acknowledge the help I received from some members of the force sadly one member left a trail of destruction behind him by telling me that I was also to blame for the abuse. Other speakers were also inspiring. The Irish Bar which was represented by Pauline Walley, SC, and by Women’s Aid itself. The speakers were Dearbhail McDonald, Margaret Martin, Pauline Walley SC, Ann Moulds, Noirin O’Sullivan, Dr Mary Ann Franks.
Unfortunatly the skpye connection with Dr Mary Ann Franks did not go ahead , modern technology let the conference down as the lovely lady was already to speak from America.
Ann Moulds, the founder of Action Scotland Against Stalking shared her personal story about being a victim of stalking. On top of the stalking she had to fight with the system because stalking wasn’t even recognised as a crime in Scotland. This lady has to be applauded for telling her story without showing a flicker of brokeness or emotion. She’s a true victor. Ann showed us slides of the explicit, sickening photos her anonymous stalker sent her, including one with his erected penis. The brave lady also displayed the letter she received from her stalker, describing in detail what he was going to do to her when he would get his hands on her. Fear and terror must have been her daily companion while been stalked. I was followed by my abuser alot and I was always looking over my shoulder wondering when he would appear.
Seeing this letter made me imagine what it must have been like to be going through your post and to find more terror nearly made me cry. This modern world of digital access and post makes life easy for the stalkers and abusers to abuse from a distance or from close by. Ann didn’t crumbled under the mountain of stress and terror. Thanks to her stalking is now a recognised criminal offence in Scotland. She also founded Action Scotland Against Stalking in 2099. She’s a strong woman and a force to be admired because she didn’t wallow in a self pity party but has gone on to help others. It was awesome to hear her speak
As I drove down th N11 I had plenty of time to process all the learned and compared information which was dancing in my brain. We can ask all the usual questions about the victim’s of every abuse but only they know the true answers. Now its time to act on such a wonderful platform such as the conference which I attended and get the Irish Laws up dated to assist victims.
Also its important for us as inviduals to keep our eye’s and ears wide open for the signs of abuse in the lives of other’s.
If a person needs’s to talk right this moment listen and hear them. Because its taken them enormeous courage to get to the first step of acknowledging that they are victims of abuse and the second step of confiding in a trusting helpful person. Women’s Aid is doing a wonderful inspiring job but they need us all to highlight this work and to let others know that its not to be ashamed about in asking for help.
As a victor over abuse I now write and speak publicly about my abuse but it took a simple post on the face book wall of Women’s Aid Ireland for me to realise that I had been a victim of didgital abuse. The abuse have nothing to be ashamed of but its the abusers who should hang their heads in shame and sorrow. I have grown from my time of abuse in to a stronger more understanding person and its from my platform of Speaking From My Experience And My Heart that I speak. This platform has enriched my life as I interact with amazing like minded people whom I might never have met if my life had taken other paths.
From the bottom of my my heart I want to Thank Lydia who told me about the conference and arranged with Christina for me to attend. Thank you Christina for holding a place for me at this conference. I am deeply grateful. I Thank also all the wonderful speakers who spoke so elequalently and who gave their precious time to educate us all some more,
My final word is to everyone ” Please educate our children on the true dangers of sharing pictures on social media or via text to anyone even friends because even friends can become enemies and use what we thought was private against us. We also need to instill in our children the massive importance of respect for everyone and tell them that its wrong to abuse anyone of any sex in any way. Ladies men are Kings and Men the Ladies are Queens, let it remain like that with everyone in our lives. Do not be a street Angel and a house Devil, be an Angel with consistent good behaviour all the time ”
*All photos by Women’s Aid Ireland