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What is love?

What is love?

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Continue reading “What is love?”

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Words.

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Words, words, words. Too many words.

I love words. I love the English language. I love it’s ability for ambiguity, for irony, for the opportunity to play around with meanings, it’s fluidity, it’s beauty, it’s rhythm and flow.

I love to write. It helps get whatever mess is in my head, out. It helps me to process my emotions.

I love to read, a good novel is hard to find. It is exciting to open up the first crisp page, often too short lived and always leaves me wanting more.

Words.

They can be used to uplift, inspire, comfort, reassure.

They can be used to belittle, hurt, scorn and spread hatred.

They can lie.

A good lie looks you right in the eye and doesn’t subconsciously scratch it’s nose. It says good things to you without giving anything away. A good liar must be well practiced. Lies, upon lies. Sometimes the only thing you have to go on is the slight twist of discomfort in your stomach. Something doesn’t quite fit.

No, it all fits, I’ve checked, right? I’ve asked, I’ve looked into your eyes and you said it again. It was the truth then, it must be now, right?

So why does my gut say different? I have no evidence. I have no proof. Just this damn knot and it won’t go away.

Words. Just words. Beautiful, mesmerising, captivating words.

Now, action? That shit can’t lie. It does what it says on the tin. Done, sorted, acted upon. Good action are good. Bad actions are bad. No amount of words can change that. No matter how hard someone tries.

Oh words, my favourite toy, they must be treated with caution. Like a cat curled up enjoying a tummy rub they can suddenly and unexpectedly turn and stick their claws and teeth deep into your trusting hand.

Wounding you forever.

Words. Like an assassin, can take the life from you. Harsh, cruel, hurtful words that cut to the core. Words that demean, they take from you, they hold energy and they can be like a bulldozer to your soul.

Terry Pratchett wrote in the book The Wee Free Men:

“They think written words are even more powerful,’ whispered the toad. ‘They think all writing is magic. Words worry them…”

Words hold power. Though I don’t agree with the toad… They don’t need to be written down for their power to manifest.

“Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Yeah. Right.

Words kill. They spread hatred, rumours, intolerance and ignorance. Before there is any damage there are the words behind it. Words maim souls. Words kill before anyone dies.

Use your words with caution. None of us truly consider the power that is held within them.

And that knot in the stomach?

Listen to it. It is always, always right.

***

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Posted in Links to amazing stuff

Leslie Morgan Steiner. Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave

Another powerful video, this time a TED talk explaining why domestic violence and abuse victims don’t ‘just leave’

direct link here.

***

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Posted in posts by us

That Wasn’t Me… This Is Me!

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I haven’t been ‘me’ for years. That may sound like a bizarre statement, so please, let me explain.

I was stuck in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for 5 years. Stuck because I was committed to the relationship. Stuck because we have children. Stuck because I’d worked so hard for our children and I didn’t want to let it go. Stuck because I believed some of the things he had said about me and to me, that I was incapable, stupid and nothing without him.

Stuck because I was afraid to leave.

The immense pressure of being in an abusive relationship isn’t always tangible. It’s the kind of thing you get used to slowly, over time. Abuse isn’t thrown upon you all in one go. No one would get stuck in a relationship like that. Abuse creeps up and let’s you settle at each level, normalising before you progress to the next.

Like a computer game, the first level is tough until you’ve completed it, you learn all the tricks and strategies. You get the rules and what to do and what not to do as you go along. By the time you’re on level 10, level 1 seems easy peasy. You can complete it with your eyes shut. As you progress to each level it increases in difficulty and, as you work through each one, you learn more and more about how the game works.

Abuse works like in a similar way… Little rules, little compromises until they become second nature. As you progress the rules and compromises become bigger and more important. And you’ve forgotten the previous ones because you’ve assimilated them into your vision of ‘who you are’. It’s easier that way. You progress to another level and so you forget the previous one. By the time you’re on level 10 you’re so preoccupied with keeping up with the rules and the expectations, you’re so anxious, you’re so fearful of what is coming next, you don’t have time to worry about what has happened before.

So you behave in ways that aren’t really a part of who you are. The constant treading on eggshells. The permanent feeling of vague unsettlement. The waiting for the other shoe to drop or the volcano to erupt. You’re so sure you’ve got it wrong again. You feel frustrated with yourself…

Why can’t I get it right?

You backtrack, you redo, you rethink. You’re exhausted. Your stress levels are through the roof.

Through the roof.

But you feel ok. Because you’ve been acclimatised. And, in all fairness, no one is shouting at you/hitting you/crazymaking you right now. This is as good as it gets. So that’s good right? Right?

You become a being of survival. Lapping up the relative good times, and protecting yourself from the bad. Up and down on the roller-coaster ride of abuse. You do things you wouldn’t do if you could only think straight. You overreact, you get angry with the wrong people, you cry for no reason, feel depressed, lethargic and lack a real feeling of fun in your soul. Of course, all of this behaviour makes you feel guilty, you know it isn’t like you… And then it is callously used by your abuser to ‘prove’ their point.

This is not me.

Say it out loud.

THIS IS NOT ME!

This was never me, this is who I became under your relentless torrent of abusive behaviour.

I have learned much about myself since I have been free of constant abuse. I have remembered who I am again. I have regained a sense of joy in the simple things in life. I can enjoy things without feeling as if it won’t last long. I am active. I can now enjoy my life, my hobbies, my responsibilities. I sing, I dance, I joke, I giggle. I can feel real happiness. Deep inside my soul.

This is me.

This is who you made me forget while trying to mould me into your vision of me. And almost destroyed me.

But I’m back.

And the good news is, with the support of family, friends and support services you can be you again too. There is hope. There is a way.

Get the support. Reach out. Be safe again. It is so worth it in the end, as each brave and wonderful contributor to Many Small Voices is testament to.

Don’t let guilt stand in your way, you were not behaving as yourself.

You were in survival mode, and the effects ran deeper than you could begin to imagine. Forgive yourself.

Don’t let them dim your light any longer.

Find a fantastically written follow up post here …another abuse survivor talking about how abuse sneaks into your life.

***

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Posted in Links to amazing stuff

7 Cowardly words from a totally sexist stranger sparked this response.

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Beautiful, raw and incredibly emotive poetry delivered with amazing passion, inspired by an overheard comment on a bus. Sensitive content.

http://www.upworthy.com/7-cowardly-words-from-a-totally-sexist-stranger-sparked-this-courageous-response-mg2-4a-2?g=3

***

We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Posted in posts by you

The Circle Of Violence by @janettaras

I met Marie one day sitting in the communal kitchen as I was unpacking the groceries. Her bottom lip was split right down the middle, blood starting to dry in between the two sides. She was missing her two front teeth. Her left eye was swollen shut and her arm was in a cast. I didn’t say hello to Marie, I don’t introduce myself, or stare. I didn’t try to fill the silence…I just unpacked the groceries.

Her little girl came into the kitchen and broke our silence. She was crying, she didn’t feel very well. She wanted to go home, to her bed, to her daddy. Marie began to cry as well as she softly told her daughter that they could not go and see her daddy. They needed to stay here, where they were safe.

I would like to share Marie’s story with you. It is a story about the vicious circle of conjugal violence, a story that can happen to anyone, or anyone capable of falling in love.

When Marie was 20 she met the man of her dreams. She was in university studying English and philosophy. Gregg was in her class. He was good looking, educated and from a good family. They spent every waking minute together until they finished university and then quickly got married. Those first 3 years together were the best of her life. She remembers all the romantic gestures, thoughtful gifts, tender kisses, meaningful gazes. Gregg made Marie feel like a princess, like she was someone special.

This stage of the ‘circle of violence’ is commonly known as the Honeymoon stage. It is the first curve in the circle of violence and it can last months or years. It is a wonderful, fantasy like time when both parties feel like they are on top of the world, where anything is possible. All New Love is wonderfully addicting, intoxicating…… and ultimately unsustainable.

Things began to change when Marie got pregnant. Somehow an invisible shift happened between her and Gregg. They had recently bought a house together, Marie stopped working and money was tight. Gregg was working in an insurance firm and seemed stressed all the time. He would come home from work extremely tense and irritable. Marie never really knew what to expect each day at 5:00pm. Would he walk in the house and kiss her or ignore her? Surely Gregg was just going through a rough patch, he would pull out of it and get back to himself again, the man she knew and loved.

But when the baby was born, Gregg became even more agitated. He was constantly insulting Marie, telling her that she looked over-weight…..she needed to stop eating so much. He told her she was a crap mother…… the baby was always crying because she didn’t know what she was doing. He told her that her cooking was tasteless…. why couldn’t she follow a simple recipe? At the same time, he became more demanding of her, wanting her to be home every night, dissuading her from seeing her friends and family.

The second stage of the circle of violence is called ‘Tension Building’. This stage can take many forms but it always has similar traits: The abuser becomes finicky and picky about everything; the victim feels like she is walking on egg shells.

Marie started thinking about going back to work, to get her mind off her problems at home. She called her old boss and asked if there were any positions open. As luck would have it, there was a maternity cover coming up and it could be a possibility for her. She was excited and would tell Gregg that night and they could start making plans for their daughters care.

When he came home that evening at 5pm, Marie could see that he was not happy. He ignored her, sneered when she tried to speak. When she finally got the courage to tell him that she planned to go back to work…. This got his attention. Gregg looked her in the eye for the first time that day….and he spit in her face. He grabbed her and threw her against the wall. He asked her what was so hard about staying home and living the life of luxury while he worked so hard to keep food on the table. Why was nothing good enough for her? She was stupid, she was selfish, she was pathetic and ungrateful. And then, for the first time ever, after 5 years together, Gregg hit Marie, and kept on hitting her until she passed out, unconscious.

The third stage of violence is called ‘Explosion’. Unfortunately the tension stage always leads here. The explosion might be physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse. Each hurts in different ways, all leaving scars.

When Gregg called the ambulance, he was overtaken by remorse for what he had just done. He went to the hospital with Marie, holding her hand the whole time. When she awoke, his eyes were filled with tears and he pleaded with her to forgive him. He had no idea what came over him. If only she would have spoken to him before calling her boss, this would never have happened. He begged her not to leave him, he could be who he used to be, if only she could be more sympathetic. Marie loves Gregg and believed that he would change… If she just tried a bit harder.

To gain the trust back into the relationship the abuser generally goes back into the honeymoon phase offering gifts, promising to change, blaming the other person and finding ways to coerce the other person to stay in the relationship.

When I met Marie in the kitchen that day, it was not the first time I had seen her in the safe house, but it was the first time we spoke. We spoke about how difficult life can be, about what makes us want to change, and how important change can be…….. Then after a few weeks, when her wounds were healing and her strength returned, Marie and her daughter finally left the safe house….. and went home to Gregg.

I volunteered at a crisis centre in Montreal, Quebec.  This is where I met many women like Marie.   

Please do anything that you can to stop the violence. 

Thank you for reading,

JT (Janet Tarasofsky)

Originally posted by @janettaras on 7th January 2013. Find the original site for this powerful post here.

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We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice. 

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form  and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

Posted in posts by you

Opening Up And Finding My Voice… At Last. By @MutteringMummy

Opening Up

Opening Up And Finding My Voice… At last.

By

@MutteringMummy

What would you do if the person you loved hit you?
What would you do if the person you loved verbally abused you on a daily basis?
What would you do if the person you loved dictated who you could speak to and where you worked?
What would you do if the person you loved made you dinner and then smashed the plate over your head because you didn’t eat it quick enough?
What would you do if the person you loved dragged you through the house by the hair because they didn’t want you sitting on the back doorstep?
What would you do if the person you loved smashed your phone so you couldn’t phone for help when they locked you in the house?
What would you do if the person you loved told you it would be your fault if they had to find another partner and abused them because you had split up with them?
What would you do if the person you loved wouldn’t listen when you told them no when they initiated sex with you?

I always said that I would leave anyone who abused me. I would leave them the very first time that they did it and I would never go back. I was wrong.

It took me 2 years and a lot of heartache to get out of that relationship but I DID IT!! It took a long time for me to trust anyone else not to hurt me. I feel very lucky and honoured that I can now call the one I trusted my husband.

Thanks for reading xx

First publish here on 4th August 2013 by @MutteringMummy

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We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice. 

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form  and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.