Monday, 16 June 2014

I will not live in fear

A young guy recently tweeted me “Do you truly believe living your life in perpetual fear is healthy?” He seemed to be suggesting that the awareness raised through #yesallwomen was causing unnecessary fear and alarm.

I blogged last week about how when my husband and I were together I lived in fear but it crept up on me so insidiously that I didn’t even realise that was how I was living.

However, when I left I realised what was happening in my life my fear became much more pronounced.  After I left my husband I began to learn as much as I could about Domestic Abuse. From reading I realised that abusers can behave more dangerously when the relationship ends. I realised my husband’s patterns of behaviour make him fit the profile of the kind of abuser who goes on to kill their ex. In the early days the police classed me as someone at high risk of serious harm, committees were set up to discuss how best to keep me safe, my address had a flag on it to get a quicker 999 response. The council came out and made sure my doors and windows were secure and my smoke alarm worked. The sudden realisation of how dangerous my ex husband is absolutely terrified me. At that point I felt scared. Really scared.

But it was from this place of knowledge and understanding that I was able to move away from my fear. When I was ignorant to my situation I was crippled by fear and confusion. When I realised the seriousness of my situation I became palpably scared; but this knowledge brought me the power to make changes and after I had taken all steps to keep myself safe there came a point when I was able to say “no, no more I will not live in fear”

But more than this, #YesAllWomen doesn’t seek to raise awareness just so women can keep themselves safe from dangerous men. #YesAllWomen seeks to raise awareness so we can educate our sons, so that men can create a world where women don’t need to keep themselves safe from men’s violence.

 I am no longer ignorant to what might befall me, I am aware of what could happen to me, just as it could happen to any woman, because any woman could fall prey to a man like my ex. I take steps to keep myself safe. And this means that unlike some other women out there I can ensure I don’t end up in a dangerous and scary relationship again. But I absolutely refuse to live in fear.  I see the effect fear had on my life, how it drained me of everything that was me, I say never again. I live in the same town as my ex, I could bump into him at any time (and in fact have done) but why should I cower in my home scared to live the life I have worked so hard to recover? No I won’t; I will not live in fear. Never again.

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