Thanks for sharing this account Amanda. Remember whilst reading our #FemPowerment testimonials that you can access support at the University at anytime.
Have attitudes towards sexual abuse and violence changed sine the development of the #MeToo movement?
"The #MeToo movement started to support and encourage women collectively and individually to speak up about abuse. It became a symbol that women everywhere were not alone and there is always someone there to support you.
Unfortunately, what was created around the media and social platforms were people for want of a better term “abused” the hashtag and it became a joke and an inconvenience by those who used it to manipulate and twist for personal benefit.
I don’t know a single woman who has been subjected to this horror and terror and thinks “Ooh I know I’ll use this to get attention and to get pay back on someone who upset me”
I don’t pretend to speak for everyone, nor do I say that my truth is like another person.
For years before I’d been a happy single mum, 2 kids, a home and pets. We’d go to museums on day trips and bake little cakes or sit watching films. I was a strong independent woman who knew the path I was going down. I was starting a course to get onto my dream degree and knew from watching documentaries that I wanted to train to work for CQC to support people across the country getting the care they deserved and had a right to.
We all know that “bad boy” persona that you think “girl spin on your heels and run the opposite direction”, well what people don’t tell you and the hidden societal truth is that Mr Bad -Boy doesn’t show that at all.
He’s the guy that when you run in with heels in your hand from work soaked through from jumping off a bus and pegging it into the local chippy with 20 minutes before the angels are dropped off has memorised your order and is already prepping it as you walk through the door. He’s the guy who remembers the children’s names and something as simple as “no salt and vinegar on the sausage boxes”. He’s the guy who your kids think is the “coolest guy ever” because he can play guitar and gets them free chips or potato fritters.
It didn’t happen straight away, I remember being so grateful for someone the kids, I thought adored him. I knew a single mum 2 kids I was “Lucky to have found someone especially younger who accepted them”. I knew it from society and family members telling me so…….
To those who think you must have realised with the “Why didn’t you leave when it started?” I say to you it starts small with passing comments “You’re going out wearing that?” “You know how lucky you are? I can have anyone” the list goes on, all little comments that snowball.
All these comments break little bits off you and your person….
The first time it wasn’t “wanted” and how you perceive relationships to be I went slightly crazy, not Carrie Underwood keying his car crazy (granted he didn’t have a car) but Olympic Gymnast style back flips crazy to convince myself it was all my fault and I was imagining it, I did want it really and was grateful for the attention because I loved him. This was all over a length of time and we’d have periods of a loving nature after.
Time went on and I’d spend time at the hospital by his bedside when it would have to others been the best time to run and escape but it wasn’t that simple I was tethered to this person, this being who on paper read like a case study from abuse training but to me the reality was I had to stay close to my pieces he’d chipped away at and took from me because it did not occur to me that I could leave and keep my pieces to fit back together.
I’d make little cries for help with passing comments “You lie back and take it” or my personal favourite “it is what it is”. To the outside Christmas, birthdays and valentines looked perfect.
The reality was finding out about my youngest saved me, I was with him and contraception had changed and typical for me I was that few percent it didn’t work with. I went from the he’s so excited and me thinking it would change things, but it didn’t.
It got worse but for anyone who studies psychology or counselling will tell you that your brain will protect you from things that are too painful to recall pushing it back into a tiny little space in the deepest darkest part. As a mum when we separated, I went onto autopilot and did not process “that bit”.
I took a long time to disclose the verbal and emotional and I was met by the “Oh you’ll struggle to cope with baby because of this” and would then proceed to look at me with two heads. My acknowledgement of having to deal with the “Origins” as I call it was not my choice it was the someone ripping a plaster off and catching stitches they didn’t know were underneath because they didn’t read notes and being left to sink or swim.
I was fortunate to have used guidance before at the university and having a new partner who had recognised signs of abuse before and made me a cup of tea to calm my nerves and sat and listened. I started speaking to an SVLO and slowly my weakness from that period has become my strength.
I tried speaking to family who have cut me off for refusing to be silenced and for encouraging my daughter to speak about her own experiences by the same person because it didn’t make them feel comfortable and they didn’t know how to react.
“He’s such a nice guy”
“It’s over now leave it in the past”
“Why didn’t you leave before, it can’t be that bad”
“You’ll ruin his life”
“What did you do?”
I would love to say that I’ve moved forward passed that and it’s not part of my life, that I don’t have wobbles where I think I see that person and crumble, believe me this is ongoing as its recent…….
I can’t control what happened to me, but I alone could decide what it meant, I am always bigger than the parts I play in the wider picture.
So, give yourself permission to heal your wounds, it will take every ounce of courage, compassion, talent and skill you possess. It will take all you have but those people who stand in their own goodness with others who are struggling and support them are stronger than any negative, defamatory comment made just by speaking your truth."