IF WE WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN START REVOLUTIONS…
A purple eye, a bloody lip
A twisted arm, a broken hip
It’s every day, it’s every year
Violence, repression, rape, fear
Their hands are tied, their mouths are gagged
They’re hearts are hurt, their breathing ragged
But we don’t see the storm inside
We only see the smile to hide
Internal torture, terror, pain
We only see the happiness they feign
We can’t hear their screaming souls
Can’t see their eyes like burning coals
We only hear protective lies
Not wanting questions, nor anxious eyes
Suppressing pain without a cure
Creates more suffering they must endure
Depression, Anxiety, OCD
Physical ailments, PTSD
Insecurity, eating disorders, social stress
And no one to whom they can confess
But with 3000 pounds to Women’s Aid
We can ensure that more modern day heroes are paid
To cover helplines around the clock
So victims of domestic abuse can talk
In confidence to specialists who’ll give them solutions
Because if we work together we can start revolutions
Nothing is insignificant, even a bruise
Help Women’s Aid stand up to any abuse
Rhea, Tori, Amy and Rachel (Dingwall Academy pupils – this poem was part of their Youth & Philanthropy Initiative competition presentation)
ON THE BEVY
We all like a bevy
But nothing too heavy
Though some folk will take it too far
For we’ve all seen the sight
At the end of the night
Of someone being thrown from the bar
He just cannot stop
And then he takes a pop
When security tells him to go
He lashes with fists
For he’s totally pissed
And everyone out there’s his foe
So he looks for a fight
With whoever’s in sight
Doesn’t matter who with, cos he’s mad
So around town he roams
Till he’s finally home
And by then the red mist’s really bad
So he climbs up the stairs
To the bedroom that’s theirs
And he hauls her up out of the bed
As he blackens her eye
She thinks this time she’ll die
And he kicks her once more in the head
In the corner she cowers
As above her he towers
And he reaches his hands out to throttle
But this time she’s ready
Her hands are quite steady
As she whacks his head, once, with a bottle
Then he widens his eyes
With a look of surprise
For not once has she done this before
He falls down to the ground
Doesn’t utter a sound
As he lands on his back on the floor
In the morning he wakes
And his whole body shakes
As he searches the house for his wife
But she’s taken her stuff
Because she’s had enough
Of fearing that he’ll take her life
Late that night in the bar
Once more he goes too far
And they throw him out into the night
As he lies in the gutter
It’s his wife’s name he mutters
As he finally gives up the fight
© Sandra Proctor 2015
THE FROG’S TALE…
Let me tell you a story about a young boy and a girl. This young woman had no problem to tell anyone if they had over stepped a boundary. She knew her mind and she wasn’t afraid to say ‘No’.
This young woman was beautiful, talented and bright.
The young man was rather taken with her as he watched her rescuing some frogs and although he thought this pastime of hers was rather odd it gave him an idea – an experiment to try.
On his way home he caught two frogs from a nearby pond. He placed two pots on the stove, one with cool water and another which had already boiled. He threw a frog into each pan. The first frog landed into the boiling water and jumped out immediately, but the second frog stayed in its pan.
The young man carefully and gradually turned the temperature up and up and he noticed that the frog in the warming water barely moved.
He noticed that when the water was at boiling point, the frog stayed in the pan even though there was no lid on it. The frog could escape and hop out of the pan at any time but . . . it did not, even while it was being cooked alive. It didn’t seem to realise what was happening to it at all.
The boy started to think and wonder about the girl, he saw a scenario playing in his head. There was not much he needed to do to befriend her, he saw himself finding one or two things that she liked and he drew her to him.
Although he had no intention of caring, of being there or being a genuine friend to her. He could pretend he was smitten, that he wanted her and needed her. He would tell her that she was all he had and beg her not to leave, even when he behaved very badly indeed.
If he could not convince her that he was something she needed, or that he was truly sorry, why he could simply supply endless reasons why she should worry!
No one knew her like he did, no one cared for her like he did, no one loved her like he did.
Forgetting herself, and where her edges started, she was no longer standing tall. She would come to believe she wanted, loved and needed to be with him, and unsure if they had an end at all?
His temper would grow as the tension would grow and she began to realise that nothing she could do would fit the shape he would need, she just had to walk on the eggshells in between.
She would go back and forth with the little voice in her mind, she would ask to be treated better and occasionally find the courage to leave, but he had got so upset, he’d bruise and hit her.
Then, once he had pulled her to her knees he would pretend to be sorry and tell her he loved her, he was her friend and that this would never happen again, but it always did, again and again, and again.
These lies would be easy for others to see. In time though, she would believe them to be true and the little voice in her head would become quieter and quieter until it would eventually become silent.
It would no longer say ‘Jump, Jump little froggy, there’s no roof in your way, jump out!’
This scenario made the boy realise exactly what he would do. The next day after school he approached her ‘Hey, I have a surprise for you’ he said handing her a shoe box. She lifted it from him and peeked inside. Two little green frogs with bright pink bows on and the softest brown eyes stared up at her ‘Oh thank you’; she said ‘how did you know?’
He smiled as he knew she was caught, and just like that, off she set, down the treacherous path with her two little frogs, hand in hand with the Toad Prince!
I’m sorry that this story didn’t go the way you’d hoped, I could talk and tell all sorts of things about abuse that you probably wouldn’t want to believe, you’d probably ask why would anyone stay and choose to be treated this way?
Sun Tzu wrote in his book ‘The Art of War’ ‘Subdue the enemy without fighting’ – this is the best way I can think of describing coercive control in domestic abuse.
The act of convincing someone that there is no threat, that no harm will come to them, that they are safe, and they are loved and accepted whilst raging war in their heads and pretending to be their friend all the while.
Though most of us would probably not care to admit it, we are all a little more like the young woman with her little frogs than we’d like to think.
Would you have had the good sense to jump out of the pan unless the water was boiling when you were thrown in?
IS THIS JUSTICE?
When my husband was first arrested for domestic abuse, the relief I felt was immense. My children and I had been living in a refuge for a month, and his bail conditions meant we could live in our own home without the constant anxiety of wondering what he was going to do next. Police Scotland were amazing when I reported him, I can’t praise them highly enough. I had spent a lot of time making sure I had good evidence before going to them, as I knew it would be really hard if I had to persuade a court to believe me, but I had no idea what lay ahead, if I had I’m sure now that I would not have reported him, and we would have remained living as we were.
Both myself and my 2 eldest children were cited as witnesses in the trial, I asked the Procurator Fiscal’s office early in the process if we would be cross examined and how hard the defence would go on us. I was assured that a trial is just about finding the truth, there would be no muck-slinging. In reality, the defence agent called my son & I outright liars, said I had entrapped my husband by taping him abusing me, and blamed me for his abuse by trying to make out that I was a drug user & having an affair (I wasn’t). It was one of the most horrendous days of my life and will haunt me for a very long time, as I’m sure it will my son.
My husband was convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour against me, and the charge of assaulting our child to injury was unproven. The verdict has healed the wounds imposed by our justice system to a degree, but it was a difficult and traumatic road to get to it. At times our experience in the justice system felt worse than the abuse from my husband. We have very good domestic abuse laws in Scotland, but the system for getting a conviction is flawed and allows perpetrators to continue their behaviour in a courtroom. This needs to change before we have a justice system that deals with both survivors & perpetrators fairly.
THE DARKEST HOUR BEFORE DAWN
Let the pain instruct you,
Let the grief overwhelm you,
Let the despair shake you to the core,
Let the tears flow like tidal waves,
Let the uncertainty leave you powerless,
Let the fear fill you with dread,
Let the time pass,
But always know…
There is always more hope tomorrow,
The strength to survive will never end,
Hope will always shine upon you,
Keep faith to lean upon when you stumble,
Let the guidance of your heart set you free.
Never doubt your power,
However hard your fall,
You will only strengthen, for every day you die a little,
Equally you begin to live a little too,
Like a child learning how to walk,
You will stand tall,
You will overcome all your demons,
You will live in peace,
No more fear will grip your gut,
No more, never again, never quit.
You will learn to dance again,
You will learn to let your heart sing,
You will laugh from deep within your soul,
You will follow your heart of gold,
You will reach your destiny.
For you alone are a survivor, a real woman,
With a substance,
With a knowing,
With strength, courage and resolve,
With a truth you know within your heart.
Let my voice as the survivor of domestic abuse,
Be the voice that shows you the way forward,
You can do it all, just know it, feel it and always believe in yourself and face it,
No power is greater on this earth than the love of a real woman.
Reward yourself, for you are the one woman that found the strength to walk away,
You will live your dreams and before too long the dark shadows of tomorrow, will no longer darken the sunshine of today.
All is well you are safe forever
Written by a survivor for a survivor – thank you.
© Alison M Grant – May 2008