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