Domestic Violence

domestic violence

Hey guys!

As part of a project close to my heart, I am researching Domestic Violence. It is not only a part of my job to safeguard people, but as I have previously experienced it and someone close to me has also told me her story of domestic violence I am going to be writing about that today. I have done a lot of research into it and some of the facts and figures I have discovered are honestly heartbreaking, but I feel like it is something that needs to be spoken about more and something people need to be aware of so you can come forward if you’re in a situation similar to anything I describe in this post.

So firstly the Home Office definition of Domestic Violence is as follows: 

Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are of have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. 

Physical abuse includes:

  • Shaking
  • Smacking
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Tying up
  • Stabbing
  • Suffocation
  • Throwing things
  • Using objects as weapons
  • Genital mutilation

Physical effects are often in areas of the body that are covered and hidden.

Sexual abuse includes any situation in which a person is forces to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom they also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. 

Psychological abuse includes:

  • Intimidation
  • Insulting
  • Isolating a person from friends and family
  • Criticising 
  • Denying abuse
  • Treating them as an inferior
  • Threatening to harm children or take them away
  • Forced marriage

Financial abuse includes:

  • Not allowing a person to work or choose their own career
  • Undermining efforts to find work or study
  • Rigidly controlling their finances
  • Restricting them to an allowance
  • Withholding money or credit/debit cards
  • Asking for an explanation of how every penny is spent
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medication, shelter)
  • Stealing from them or taking their money
  • Gambling
  • Not paying bills

Emotional aims to chip away at a persons feelings of self-worth and independence, this includes:

  • Yelling
  • Swearing
  • Name calling
  • Blaming
  • Shaming
  • Undermining confidence
  • Making racist remarks
  • Making a person feel unattractive 
  • Calling them stupid or useless
  • Isolation
  • Intimidation
  • Controlling behaviour
  • Additionally throwing threats of physical violence or repercussions if you don’t do what they want

Domestic abuse occurs across the whole of society, regardless of race, age, religion, sexuality etc. It really can happen to anyone in any scenario. Here are some facts and figures I have found:

  • On average, 2 women a week, in the UK alone, are killed by a male partner or former partner; this contributes to around one third of all female homicide victims. 
  • 20% of women have been victims of sexual abuse since the age of 16. 
  • 75% of domestic violence cases result in physical injury or mental health consequences to women. 
  • 30% of domestic violence cases start during pregnancy. 
  • 75-90% of domestic violence incidents happen with a child/children in the same or next room.
  • The cost of physical healthcare treatment resulting from domestic violence (including hospital, GP, ambulance and prescriptions) is £1,220,247,000 per year.
  • 54% of rapes in the UK are committed by a woman’s current or former partner.
  • The police in the UK receive one call to stop domestic violence every minute.

All of the above facts can be found on the Woman’s Aid website.

A couple other interesting facts are that 32% of women who have ever experienced domestic violence did so 4,5 or more times and 11% of men who have ever experienced domestic violence did so 4,5 or more times. (Ref: Walby + Allen, 2004)

Now onto the effects of domestic violence on adults. Firstly the physical effects:

  • Bruising
  • Recurrent sexually transmitted infections
  • Broken bones
  • Burn or stab wounds
  • Death
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Tiredness
  • General poor health
  • Poor nutrition
  • Chronic pain
  • Miscarriage
  • Maternal deth
  • Premature birth
  • Self-harming behaviour

But of course, not all domestic abuse effects can be seen physically, in fact the list of psychological and/or behavioural effects is longer, they include:

  • Fear
  • Increasing likelihood of misusing drugs, alcohol or prescribed anti-depressants
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor mental health
  • Wanting to or actually committing suicide
  • Sleep distrubances
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Low self-worth
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Eating disorders

So many people suffer domestic violence in silence because they’re too scared to come forward and talk about it, from personal experience I understand how hard it is and how scary it is. You think people will judge you, you think it’ll make things worse, you think people won’t believe you, you think it’ll make you seem weak. So many thoughts rush through your head and you decide actually, no I won’t tell anyone. You believe them when they say it ‘won’t happen again’. You believe that they ‘didn’t mean it’ because that’s what they told you. You believe that they’ll ‘change’ like they say you do, but then you end up in the same pattern and the same cycle over and over again and each time you’re taken in by the words they say. But if there is one thing I cannot stress enough it is that you need to speak out. You need to say something because if you don’t, one day it could go too far and it might be too late like it was for Linah Keza or Julie Sahin or even Sashana Roberts.

Domestic violence can be a taboo subject, people thinking you’re saying it for attention, people judging you, people saying you’re lying or making it up or it’s ‘in your head’ but that is not the case. If you feel you’re in a situation classed as violent, whether that be physically, emotionally, financially or anything I have described in this post, speak out. Talk to a friend, a parent, a family member, your doctor, speak to someone, because the brutal reality is, if it goes too far, you could end up dead. And if it isn’t you who ends up dead, it could be the next person they start a relationship with, or as some of the articles I linked above show, it could be someone’s child that gets killed. Innocent people lose their lives almost daily, I mean 2 women per week in the UK alone are killed by their partner or ex partner and 54% of rapes are by a partner or ex partner those statistics shocked me and upset me because it’s not something we hear about on mainstream news and it should be. We should be talking about it and making more women aware that there is help out there before it becomes too late for them.

Here are a few links of some charities that do amazing work and if you want more information or you need help then definitely check them out:

Woman’s Aid

Refuge

Men’s Advice Line

The Hide Out

Another point I want to make, is safeguarding. In the job I do, I have to keep safeguarding at the top of my mind on a daily basis, if you don’t know what safeguarding is here is the definition:  Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, well being and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. If you know someone or suspect someone is in a violent relationship, say something, even if it’s not your job to do so. It’s my job to report it to the authorities and I’m not telling you to call the police if your friend has a bruised arm or something, I’m saying have that conversation. If your friend has continuously got bruises or is continuously panicking when their partner calls or messages them or they’re just not themselves, ask them if they’re okay, tell them you’re there for them, make them feel secure that they can open up to you and you won’t judge them but you’ll help them. By having that simple conversation, you could find out it’s nothing and that they’re clumsy and bang into the desk at work daily or you could find out they are in fact being abused and they need help to get out of that situation. It’s hard to judge a scenario and know when to speak out, but sometimes you have to take that risk because it could result in you saving a life simply by asking someone if everything is okay.

Recently, someone very close to me spoke out and came forward after years of abuse and I felt horrible, I felt ashamed that I hadn’t picked up on it, but that is one thing I realised when I experienced it myself, you become very good at hiding what you’re going through, especially if you live with that person, nobody will know what happens behind closed doors if you don’t tell them or show them. I am 100% against abuse, whether it be to animals, children, to woman or to men, abuse is not okay, emotionally, physically or anything, it is never okay.

I find posts like this so hard to write because it really hits me when I research facts and figures just how horrible it can be and how bad things can get for people. I have listed some charities above which are good for women, men and children who have been or are being effected by violence and abuse and I urge anyone who is reading this to take a look. If it does effect you, seek help and if it doesn’t, take a read and find out more because one day it could effect you or someone you know and by doing that little bit of reading and research it could save a life.

Thank you for reading.

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My Miscarriage Story – Readers Discretion

My Miscarriage Story – Readers Discretion.png

Hey guys!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I am quite open with events that happen in my life which may help others. I talk a lot about things I have been through or am going through in the hopes that somebody who reads the post may find comfort or advice in there and today is no different. Some people may find this upsetting so please only read if you think you can.

As you can see from the title, I had a miscarriage. On the 27th of August 2017 I got took into hospital where I lost a baby at 3 months. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until it was almost too late. I hadn’t really shown any major signs of pregnancy. Looking back there were some signs but I just didn’t pick up on them. For example, I had gained weight, but I thought it was because I was eating a lot of junk food, going out for meals a lot and constantly travelling the country for shows so I had no choice but to eat a lot of take outs. I also threw up after eating a Chinese which I have never done before. I also hadn’t had a period, but I thought this was down to the fact I had continued to take the pill so I didn’t have a period whilst in Canada.

So when I got home from Canada and I still hadn’t had my due period I decided I needed to do a test and find out. With 1 inconclusive test and 1 positive test I needed to see the Doctor and get an answer from them, so I booked it for the first available date which was Tuesday the 29th of September, which in the end turned out to be too late.

On Sunday 27th of August, nearly two weeks after landing home from Canada, I woke up in agonising pain. I couldn’t breath, my stomach felt like someone was repeatedly stabbing me and twisting the knife for good measure and I felt weak. My stomach pain wasn’t a period pain, it was so much more intense and powerful and horrible and I knew something wasn’t right. So I was taken to a walk in centre to see a doctor who did 2 tests, both inconclusive. After doing a thorough examination he said he believed it could be two things, a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, both of which petrified me.

He advised me to see someone at the hospital immediately so he contacted them and had me fast tracked to the Surgical Assessment Unit, a ward where patients go to speak with a Doctor or Surgeon and discuss the next steps. I had a bunch of different tests done, urine, blood, blood pressure, blood sugar. Anything you can imagine I had tested. At this point I was bleeding very heavily and I was in the worst pain I ever could have felt. After spending all day in the hospital taking Morphine to control the pain, the surgeon and doctor said they would like me to stay in overnight and be reassessed early hours the next day and hopefully find out the exact reason for the extreme pain, this caused my anxiety to freak out and I panicked and couldn’t do it. Against Doctor’s orders I decided to discharge myself. At this point I had already looked into it and I was 99% certain I knew I had had a miscarriage and my nurse also thought that too and told me to go home and rest and sleep and drink plenty of water and come back Wednesday for an ultrasound scan.

So when Wednesday came around I went to the hospital and I had an internal and external ultrasound scan. Both of which showed no signs of a heartbeat. The surgeon recalled me to the Surgical Assessment Unit where he broke the news along with a nurse that I had in fact miscarried at just over 3 months pregnant. In that moment I felt completely broken. 3 months pregnant and I didn’t even know for sure that I was.

Immediately I felt guilty. I felt like it was all my fault. In those 3 months I had got a stomach tattoo, I had drank alcohol, I had been to Canada jumping in the lakes, I hadn’t been eating properly as I felt sick all of the time. I felt like it was all my fault and nothing anyone was saying to me was changing my mind about that. At that moment in time, deep down I knew it was all my fault.

I was told that I needed to go home, I needed to rest, I needed to try and start eating again. I was told I could potentially bleed some more so I needed to take care of myself. I was of course devastated, I was heartbroken and I had an overwhelming feeling of guilt. I had to experience all of it on my own because the babies father didn’t even bother to show up and for me that was the most heartbreaking moment of my life so how could he not have cared?

Looking back, I learnt a lot about myself those few days. It was only a few weeks ago so it is still very very painful, however I learnt that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could have been. I went through one of the most heartbreaking things a woman could go through and I did it on my own. Not on my own completely, I had my family and friends supporting me, but on my own in a sense that it takes two people to make a baby, it only took one to lose it and deal with it. I also learnt that some people aren’t who they say they are. People will always say ‘I’m always here for you’ but when it comes down to it it’s actually very few people who stick to their word and do help you and have your back. And I think the most important thing is that I learnt that miscarriage is not your fault. You’ll feel guilty, you feel like it’s all your fault and you could’ve and should’ve done things differently, but the reality is if a miscarriage is going to happen it will happen regardless of what you do to try and prevent it. If your body doesn’t feel like it can continue the pregnancy then it won’t allow it to continue.

I’ve always believed that whatever is meant to be will be, I lost this baby because it wasn’t meant to be, I was meant to experience it, learn from it and grow from it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through but I’m starting to grow from it slowly but surely. Last night I watched a British Soap Opera called Eastenders and the quote below was said… for me it hurt but it’s true. Just because I didn’t give birth to the baby, doesn’t mean I’ll forget about it. He/she will always be in my heart and I’ll never forget. I would also like to take a moment to thank the producers, writers, crew and cast of Eastenders for showing so much respect throughout the miscarriage scenes. It was a hard watch, but it was something that has hopefully helped millions of people to understand miscarriage a little bit more.

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A miscarriage is not easy and I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. It’s a scary and lonely place to be. You can be surrounded by people but in that moment you feel alone and scared because you’ve lost your baby, your body lost the baby. You’ll question every little thing you’ve done, wondering if it triggered it off or if you could have done something differently to stop it from happening. But in reality, a miscarriage is a natural thing, something that is controlled by your body believing you couldn’t carry a baby full term and you may never understand the reason why, but there is always a reason.

I never imagined I would get pregnant at 20 years old. I never imagined I’d lose a baby at 3 months old. I never imagined I would have to go through it without the babies dad by my side. But I did and I have and I’m a stronger person for it. Miscarriage is never easy, this is my second one at the age of 20. The first I lost at 3/4 weeks, the second I lost at just over 3 months and it doesn’t get any easier each time it happens. You will still remember the pain, the heartache, you’ll remember around the time he or she should’ve been born, you’ll remember it all. But in time you’ll start to heal and you’ll realise it wasn’t meant to be and they are safer where they are looking down on you.

I spoke with the doctor, nurses and surgeon whilst in hospital and I voiced my concern about this being the second time and thinking maybe I can’t have kids, maybe my body won’t allow me to. But luckily they said that there is no indication that they can see that I am unable to carry a healthy baby full term so at some point in my future I will be able to have children, hopefully when the time is right my body will allow that to happen.

This post was hard to write, it was something I was debating about writing or not, especially this soon. But I decided I would to help the process of healing and grieving and learning to move forward. I have always been open about the things I go through because I believe the more we talk about situations like this the better. Because keeping it inside will not help me through the healing process and it won’t help anyone experiencing it thinking they’re alone. You are not alone no matter how much you think you are.

I now have to go through a process of seeing a councillor now due to me having depression and then losing a baby and the health services wanting to make sure I can cope with it all. At first I couldn’t cope. At first I hated myself and I didn’t want to live anymore. But now I’ve came to terms with the fact it wasn’t supposed to be and with the help and support of my family and friends, especially my mom and my best friend Harley I am slowly learning to move forward. I know it won’t be easy, but if I have learnt one thing it is that life is so precious and you need to grasp every opportunity with both hands. Some people don’t get the chance to live their life, enjoy their life, but if you have that chance then do not throw it away.

I really hope that I can help just one person by writing this to understand they’re not alone. I personally have a great support network around me and therefore I’ve stayed strong. I have said it time and time again, I am always open to listen to anyone experiencing something tough. Go to the social media tab above where all of my information is kept, which now includes a personal email address where you can email me regarding anything and everything and I will listen and be there just so you know you’re not alone.

Thank you for reading.

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