Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Abuse is not....A Class Issue

Several years ago, after my husband had made a series of his excellent financial decisions we ended up living on a "rough" council estate. I must say it was an eye opener. Firstly I couldn’t believe the difference in the way I was treated when I moved from a nice middle class housing estate to a council estate, secondly I had some of the most honest, kind hearted, friendly, hard working neighbours I have ever had. I believed that any snobbery I had, any judgements about what people who live on council estates were like, were eradicated by that experience. I honestly thought I was not judgemental at all.

But I am ashamed to say that when I started to let people know about the domestic violence; when social services became involved, when I was being referred for support at the children’s centre I was incredibly uncomfortable with it. I found that actually I was still a bit of a snob.

I didn’t want to talk about my experience because I still couldn’t quite believe that it was happening to me. I figured the Women’s Aid workers would be shocked to come out to a relatively nice area of town and it was important to me that social services, Women’s Aid and everyone else knew that I wasn’t a typical abuse victim, I was a nice middle class mummy, a Christian. Not one of “those” women.

Yet the ladies who work for Women’s Aid tell me they have been in every kind of home, that doctors, solicitors, clergymen, policemen, are all just as prone to being abusers as anyone else.

And we know this, we only need to look in the news, Charles Saatchi, Chris Brown, Oscar Pistoruis- a seemingly nice bloke, all perpetrators of domestic violence. Nigella is the epitome of the posh domesticated goddess, the tough career women who won’t be messed with. It didn’t make her immune to domestic abuse. Abuse knows no boundaries, it doesn't discriminate.

And it wasn’t just that it wasn’t a class issue that shocked me. It isn’t a faith issue either. I honestly thought that the figures for Domestic Abuse amongst Christians would be lower, but they’re not, and worse abusers who are Christian use the bible to justify their abuse or even further abuse their victims- but that’s a whole other blog post. 

This myth that I believed about abuse was particularly damaging because it made me feel shame and that bought my silence for longer. Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, rich, poor, mild mannered or a bit feisty, highly educated or unqualified, black, white, religious, irreligious, straight or gay,  you can still be experiencing domestic abuse. There is no typical abuse victim.

Please check out the rest of the Abuse is not series by clicking on the tab at the top of this post

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