So I started writing down the women I know, these are not internet friends, but women,I know in the flesh and the abuse they have revealed to me over the years, plus the abusers. The list is random to preserve their anonymity.
Mother in law
Sister in law
threats to kill
spousal infection with STI
sexual assault-breasts,bum ,vagina
If you are female, abuse can start very young and goes onto to old age. Oh what joy!( I really must give up sarcasm). The only consistent themes I can see is a) the victim feels ashamed b) the abuser very nearly always gets away with it.
I want to take the last point first. I am not picking on my local police force but they recently had a Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report. Here is an extract:
In HMIC’s effectiveness (vulnerability) report in 2015, we judged the force to require improvement in the way it protects victims from harm. In that inspection, HMIC was particularly concerned about the standard of investigations, access by victims to safeguarding support, enquiries relating to missing children, and the capacity to manage the volume of calls received in the force’s control centre. Some of these matters have been addressed, but the service to vulnerable victims is still a cause of concern. The force has invested in its protecting vulnerable people (PVP) directorate, which means that there are more specialist detectives available to investigate high-risk cases. However, this investment is to some extent being undermined because the force’s initial response to vulnerable victims is inadequate. Risk factors associated with victims are not always identified and the force does not always respond promptly to citizens who need their help. This means that evidence is sometimes being lost and opportunities to provide immediate support to victims are being overlooked
This absolutely chimes with my experience of contacting them, and the fact that is still going on is really worrying. It took me, and every other victim a great deal of courage to make that initial call and it should be acted on. I really do understand that the police are at full stretch and that may well play a part so I shall go back and give my two pennyworth about point a)
We need to get over the shame, if you are reading this and you have been a victim too, it is not your shame it is the abuser's guilt. You just happened to be there, you are not worthless, or weak even if you are a repeat victim. Society, family or institutions tells us to keep quiet, because otherwise they feel shame themselves. It is just the same for whistle blowers;this type of thing does not happen here, she is a bit nuts you know..... For there to be breakthrough, we have to stop being as sick as our secrets. Yes ,I am aware that the fact we live in a patriarchal society also is a major contributing factor. As a woman, I can do very little about that, but I can try and change what is in my control.
We do need to break through the stigma and I believe a collective effort would be a great start. It is important, why should a person be sexually harassed, or beaten or defrauded just because they had the misfortune to be born female.There is strength in numbers.
My list is not exhaustive, most women on it have been abused more than once and in more than one way.There have been no prosecutions. Many of them have been victim blamed for speaking out in their families or workplace,Church etc. However for abuse to stop we do need to talk about it. Please join me in conversation, if it is safe for you to do so. Think about you friends , relatives and of course yourself. Write a list and publish it
Thank you x