For the past year Wendy has been producing and filming a documentary for Refuge to launch a new campaign that would change the law to recognise a liability for suicide. The film is due to be released in Autumn and has been a passionate project of Wendy’s. Wendy experienced abuse first-hand in her first marriage, both physically and mentally for six years until their marriage finally came to an end.
She felt ‘ashamed’ and ’embarrassed’ and swept it under the carpet, but when she met Gary Webster (her current husband) he gave her the support and strength to face what had happened to her. Wendy has been supporting Refuge for 14 years helping to campaign and create awareness for the charity as she knows first hand the tragic consequences of domestic violence. She says ‘it is important to recognise you are not alone;‘ she thought she was the only person and kept it a secret as she felt shameful about what was happening to her.
“I urge people to pick up the phone and call for help. People often ask why did you stay? And my answer is this. You are completely brainwashed and striped of strength and self esteem. You have no strength of character left.”
Do you have any contact with your ex-husband? We asked “I have no contact whatsoever, thank goodness! Every penny that Refuge raises goes towards a prevention education programme letting women know that domestic violence is a crime and the warning signs that come with it. I am passionate that unless people start speaking out about domestic violence nothing will change.” Abusive partners depend on a cloak of secrecy, the more publicity domestic violence gains the less power the abusers have. 1 in 4 women suffer from domestic violence & the law of probability means we all know someone who is suffering from domestic violence.
“The physical scars heal. It is the mental abuse which destroys lives.In an abusive relationship an abuser will use something against you as emotional blackmail to make you stay. In my case my first husband always threatened to hurt our dog.”
Wendy spoke about how she thought it was her fault and how her former husband told her that she drove him to treat her the way he did. Many abusers follow similar Behaviouralpatterns.Wendy was married at the age of 19 and her partner was 15 years older then her. She spoke of how the abuse had started before her marriage and continued the whole time they were together.
Wendy’s life has turned around since meeting her new husband Gary, and she is now happily married with two children.
“It’s important for victims of abuse to know that there is hope and that there is a much better life to be had once they are free of the situation”
Wendy feels very fortunate to have turned her life around, and by speaking out about her domestic violence it has helped her healing process. Speaking to Wendy was a very humbling experience. She is an inspirational woman and it makes you realise just how important creating awareness for Refuge is and just how many women are affected by this tragic issue.
If you think you are a victim of domestic violence or want more information on the cause visit http://refuge.org.uk/
Until next time,
Katie J & Rachael P (on behalf of the Glam Squad)