Abcln Photo Voice
Appearances can be deceiving. Am I beautiful or am I manipulated, trained, forced against my will to be my owner’s creation?
Love doesnt hurt tattoo on back of women's neck
Love doesn’t hurt
Until he put his hands around my throat and told me I was going to die I hadn’t really comprehended the nearly 10 years of abuse before this moment; drip, drip, drip got us here and only physical violence made me realise where I had ended up.
I would only truly understand the full extent of what I’d been through later, surrounded in group by women who seemed to be telling my story and describing my abuser themselves, every week it sinking in: all the ways I’d been abused and hadn’t realised what it was.
Little did I know that night the act of leaving meant worse was yet to come, the guilt, shame, shock, confusion, the never ending fear, overnight going from married to single, from oblivious, to a dark realisation of what we’d endured and how the fact that because it was someone I loved and lived with did this, made it to many explainable, excusable and not as shocking than if it had been a stranger.
The aftermath felt like a full-time job, so many professionals to deal with, a cycle of police, solicitors, social workers, court visits, PPS, counsellors, estate agents, statements, financial records, mounting debt, benefits claims, housing application, hiding, safety assessments.
Thrust into a world I had no experience of and trying desperately to keep my head above water and protect my children, tiny witnesses to abuse, while we lost everything and slowly started again.
But being prepared to lose everything I thought was important meant I was able to finally gain my freedom and find my own voice and realise my own worth.
Slowly but surely over the past few years we’ve grown stronger for our experience
Silent treatment hurts
But love - love doesn’t hurt
Smashed Wall Photo Voice
This was a familiar sight in many rooms of the house when his temper went. I’m busy fixing up these holes and fixing my life again.
I came across this chair at a lake, I could feel the loneliness of the person who put it there and wondered what their story was, mine is that I feel very lonely due to the experiences in my life that have caused me not to trust many as a result of domestic abuse.
Photo taken while at an appointment at local hospital on my phone
it reminded me that I have been social distancing most my life due to Domestic Abuse, so nothing has changed for me during Covid. Perhaps one could say due to the stigma attached to domestic abuse, I have been forced by society into a space where I feel socially distanced
A Buttercup flower
Do you like butter? imagine if we had a flower that could tell us if we were headed for abuse in a relationship.
taken in the early morning, a macro image of dew on a plant
This reminded me of a tear drop and how I had no one to wipe my tears let alone support them, this plant has 12 petals just like a clock, how long do you think it would take for the drop to fall? I have lost count of the number of times I have cried because of Domestic Abuse and how long I cried for, it was most definitely more than 12 hours and I feel as though I cant cry any more there is nothing left, I feel numb
Macro Image Of Grass Seed
Imagine being a grass seed blowing in the wind, free to land anywhere, not worrying who are what would follow you, or what seeds go with you, feeling so independent and yet so small with not a worry in the world, coercive control takes away your freedom and independence leaving you feel very small
Photo taken in my back garden of a “Small Tortoiseshell” butterfly having a nice time in the mint and lavender.
This butterfly is flamboyant and beautiful to feel so independent and not have to change your colour or behaviour
I can go where I want now, festivals, the pub, the park, anywhere and wear what I want without having them/it cut up by a pair of scissors by someone who wants to control every single thing in my life and judge me by their standards
where did I go
who did I talk to
what did I wear
how did I dance
how much did I spend
what time did I go
what time did I get home
how much did I drink
did I take drugs
who was I with
did I have sex?
I love my FREEDOM, I can do what I want and not have to answer to anyone
This used to be my security, not any more, now its like “Fort Knox”
Image taken of the last candle I lit for survivors and victims of domestic abuse [rip].
Going through domestic abuse can test you and push you to the extreme, it can be such a confusing time not knowing if I was wrong or if they were wrong. I spent many days in churches where I knew I would be safe, just sitting there asking for help and looking for a sign of somebody or something I was not sure I believed in or that existed in sure desperation for an answer
Today I light candles for others who are suffering domestic abuse, I ask to give them guidance and keep them safe to help them to make the right decision and give them hope and I still feel safe in churches.
A white feather is something every woman that is or has gone through domestic abuse can relate to , things get so bad that little signs like a white feather bring us hope.
it is said that angels are near when you see a white feather and all you have to do is “ask”.
to this day, I always say thank you when I see a white feather, I am grateful to be alive.
Sewing my life back together after having every fine thread torn from me. being in a relationship with a narcissist can feel like every stitch of you has been ripped and you are falling apart at the seams, especially during their smear campaign when they are getting ready to expose you as something you are not, insult you and abandon you when you are then left feeling vulnerable and only to have the same done again to you after a few days when they claim they made a mistake - coercive control and gaslighting come to mind,
fight, flight and freezing and not knowing who the HELL you are any more! Will it get better if I stay or do I RUN?
Photo of a weather beaten chair I rescued for this concept
The chair on the left represents the amount of chairs I have sat on and told my story. The layers of imitation wood peeling as though it has peeled away like the layers of suffering embedded in my brain and heart hiding all the hurt and pain I have suffered. Resilient as I am I am still on the chair but my light is brighter and I am bringing colour back into my life, my personality is coming back and I have a glow [photo on right]
Summer Solstice - 5am - 21 June 2021
Each day is a new day.
I believe the caption says it all. Having been through domestic abuse, I find it difficult sometimes to acknowledge and believe in my caption as flashbacks and ruminating are a big part of my life, however up here, I do manage to leave it behind, its great!
Phone camera, photo taken at a local beach
I like to escape to the sea when it is stormy the ocean gives me a sense of freedom, its strength is beyond control, its wildness can not be calmed, its energy is promising and it is continuous without restriction and can not be captured.
I get very emotional when I visit but I take with me when I leave a sense of strength and courage to keep going, it reminds me of how turbulent my life used to be, I can wash away the feelings of shame, disgust and dirt.
I love the sea, it gives me strength.
A Plain, Ordinary House
Who knew what secrets it kept within its walls. A vibration of fear, worthlessness, and uncertainty. The House, a third persona in a dysfunctional tryst.
How I hated you and how many times I wanted to destroy you, leave you.
Yet it wasn’t you, House, you may have sheltered the bruised, harassed, the shamed
Something had to be done to remove the rot and remove and breathe new life into its foundations
Many have helped in eradicating the unnecessary
Your scars are healing, you are recovering
Once more you can stand proud, and offer a haven to all who gather under your roof.
Photo by MissFitz, original photo removed to protect participant’s identity.
Makeup and brushes
I found everyday another reason to apply makeup. A mark, a cut, a bruise.
To hide not only physical, but to emotionally hide behind a mask.
To hide the tears and put on a brave front to face another day.
Butterfy In Flowers
I've come through this trauma and I'm free to be who I truly am! Just like a butterfly that emerges from a dark cocoon to become a fragile, beautiful & colourful being!
This is my life and I'm going to live it my way … Without fear, without judgement and without bitterness! It's time for me to spread my wings and fly!!! My definition of freedom ...The day I left an abusive relationship I became a survivor not a victim anymore!!