Two and a half years ago, if you’d have asked me whether I enjoyed helping people, I would have genuinely said ‘No’. Choosing not to help others in similar situations following my abusive relationship was a selfishness I was perfectly comfortable with. It was actually recommended by a therapist. “Now is the time to be selfish,” is what she said, and I just had no time for talking about my experience or helping anyone else with there’s.
However, something changed when my police case against my ex-partner ended. They decided to dismantle the case due to a lack of evidence, and I took to my blog to vent about the problems I found with the justice system, and the stigma around domestic violence. Suddenly, I didn’t want to be silent anymore. My bubble of denial was burst and I was ready to start changing things. Back in June, I shared my domestic abuse story on my blog and it went viral. By viral, I mean it was shared/read around 14,000 times. Following the thousands of read the blog post attracted, I was emailed by women all over the world. Reaching me from places as far as Australia, women were telling me their own stories of domestic abuse, sexual assault and other horrific attacks they’d experienced from their own partners. This response gave the opportunity to help others, and I kept friendships with many of the women who got in touch, offering help where I could and referring them to resources where they could find support.
Following this response, Refuge (the charity for women) reached out to me just to chat to me about my story and offer their help where it was needed. They kept in contact with me regularly, recommended certain approaches to moving forward, and they asked me if I’d ever like to work with them on media projecrs. I volunteered to help with any media work they may need and didn’t expect much to come from it. I thought, at the most, I’d write a couple of articles here and there on their behalf. I was so very wrong.
Refuge are a charity that support women and children who are in violent situations and help to turn their lives around. Their mission is to empower women and children to rebuild their lives, and be free from violence. They provide a range of life-changing (or even saving) services, and act as a voice for those who are voiceless. Avon Cosmetics have been a partner of Refuge for a very long time (around 10 years I think) but have always been the company for women, striving to do their part towards causes that women care about.
Back in March, I partnered with Refuge and Avon to do a huge press event for International Women’s Day and it was the most inspiring and empowering day of my life. That was back in March, and it was an absolutely amazing and empowering day! By the end of the evening, I was emotionally exhausted and empowered simultaneously. But most importantly, it felt incredible to have turned my trauma into something practical and useful. Perhaps that sounds strange to some, but, for me, as someone who uses work as an escape and loves to be busy, it was the perfect therapy.
The charities I’ve worked with, such as Refuge and Women’s Aid, and brands I’ve worked with like Benefit Cosmetics and Avon to spread awareness and fight stigmas surrounding domestic violence, have granted me with a role that helps me feel useful, in a time in my life where I felt vulnerable. Thank you to all of these companies for granting me the opportunity to take an unfortunate event and be able to use it for something positive. These companies provided me with a platform to share my story, raise awareness of domestic abuse, inspire others and feel empowered once again. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for involving me in press events. I’ve been overwhelemed with positivity and I’ve been granted the power to inspire on Monday. In many of the interviews I took part in, I spoke directly to those who may be in a similar situation to the one I was in. I hope that I helped to change someone’s life positively.
This month, I’ll be doing another talk with Refuge (on the morning of the 31st – more info to come over the next few weeks on my instagram stories) about abusing technology in relationships. I’m fearful and nervous as always, but at least now I can confidentally say I enjoy helping others. I’m in a position now where I can look back on my trauma somewhat objectively, and do my best to make a difference.
If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship & need support, visit the refuge website.
This is part of the 4th challenge for #theblograce, hosted by Vix and Laila. If you like what I’ve done here, and also on this twitter thread, consider giving me a vote on the polls tomorrow! Look out for the voting session on the ‘#theblograce’ hashtag.