Women’s Words

R is for refuge where my family stay
E is for emotions which go up and down night and day
F is for the friendly welcome you receive
U is for the unique workers who help us achieve
G is for the gratefulness that is real
E is for the enjoyment through my stay that I feel.
I was in a very aggressive relationship and I had a child to consider. It was a big step to take, leave your home with nothing more than a few things in a bag. If it had not been for Women’s Aid I don’t know where I would have ended up!
You listened to me and you did not judge. You offered me a home with all the basic needs, but that’s all you need – somebody to listen to you and act in you and your child’s best interest. Women’s Aid offered me a chance at a new life and thanks to Women’s Aid, I’m on my way.
I went to Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire offices in Hamilton to ask for help after leaving my abusive partner in February 2010. I spoke to a member of staff in confidence about my circumstances and she was very attentive, sympathetic and understanding. That very same day I was offered a safe, homely, and welcoming self – contained flat for myself and my two young children to live in as temporary accommodation.

My support worker C (the lady I had spoken to at the office) helped me and gave me all the information I needed to sort out my financial, legal and housing issues and supported me by attending appointments with me and helping me to fill out forms . I was so grateful that support was in place. She regularly kept in contact and visited me to have a chat at least once a week to see how things were going.

My children were allocated their own support worker. She spent time with them once a week doing different activities to help them to talk, understand behaviour, how to keep safe and about children’s rights. It was a great time for the kids to talk about any worries they may have had as they built up a very trusting relationship with their worker. During the school holidays the children’s workers put on different events and activities for all the children- my two really enjoyed these.

We were in refuge for just over a year and we have now moved into our own home. We have on-going support should we need it and I am now attending an Empowerment Programme organised and ran by Women’s Aid to help me to understand the full effects of domestic abuse which will arm me with information to protect myself in the future.

I would not be the safe, strong, aware and self-sufficient woman I am today if I had not called into the Women’s Aid Offices that day. They changed my life and gave myself and my children hope for the future. I cannot praise them enough. I feel so passionate about the amazing work that they do that I’ve been inspired by them to train for a job in the similar line of work. I certainly could not have gotten through that bad time in my life without them.  Thanks J.A.M.

Going My Way
When lots of troubles come to you
And you seem all alone
When life is hard and you plough through
A winter all on your own
Keep bravely on
Though hard the road
Keep on and try to sing
For to the brave comes hope at last
And Winter turns to Spring
I would like to share with you my experience with Women’s Aid. I knew the words ‘Women’s Aid’ and ‘Refuge’ existed and had a vague knowledge of what this involved. I never thought that there would come a time in my life where I would require these services or indeed to the level in which I would come to depend, admire and understand them.

There is hardly any need to go into detail in regards to my past as everyone who reads this short letter will know, and I hope have some understanding of why I needed to be guided to these wonderful women. I often describe the way I was at this time as “I was on my knees” although at the time even I did not understand this.

As part of the abuse I suffered my husband insisted on taking me (not for the first time) to a psychiatrist and although many health care professionals had not recognized this as a form of domestic abuse fortunately the last consultant psychiatrist I was ’taken’ to did so. When on my own with her she advised what was happening to me and urged me to get in touch with Women’s Aid. Even at this point I was so weak and conditioned (I now understand this terminology) I was unsure if this was where I needed to turn and if I did so then would I be believed even if I did believe it myself.

I made a phone call and as they say “the ball was set in motion” From the very start there was never any pressure on me to make any decisions, only a feeling of open arms and a warmth and an understanding that I would be believed. There was nothing they could not advise, help and explain on. I was in refuge for 13 months, I always knew that there would be a time when I would need to move on, but I was always treated as a woman with individual needs and there was no ‘typical’ recovery time.

I will never be able to put into words the strength and empowerment that this service gave to me, not only in understanding ‘why’ he abused me and in what ways he did so and to what levels that abuse went to but in making me believe that I am a woman with rights, dignity and proud. I have all the strength I need now to
face my future. One of the things my children have said to me is “why did you not get us out years ago” and my answer to them is “if I had known about Women’s Aid and Refuge then I would have” I have a tear in my eye right now thinking how far I have come and without this service I would still be in the same position I was and if the truth be known so, so much worse.

If I had a wish it would be that all women knew about this life changing and life saving organisation and that all agencies had the skills to recognise domestic abuse at all levels and know where to call for help for women ‘just like me’ Thank you Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire.

I am now in the Refuge for the second time in 9 years, the first time I moved in the workers were fantastic. There was always lots of support or just a friendly face to talk to.  When I came in the second time, I thought everyone would judge me as it was through the same man, but they couldn’t have been more friendly and supportive. No one judged me and there was still quite a few of the same workers which was comforting.
I have made some good friends while living in Refuge – at the end of the day we are all, or have been in the same position so everyone understands what you are going through. So don’t sit back and take it – LEAVE AND COME TO WOMEN’S AID SOUTH LANARKSHIRE.

When you go into Refuge
Don’t have to beware
The women are there
To help you
No need to shout
No need to yell
It’s quiet in there
That’s what it’s about

Where do I start?
How do we live apart?
Thirty years is a long, long time
But it wasn’t me committing the crime
Drinking and drugging 24/7
He must have thought he was living in heaven
Down trodden and dictated to most of my life
That’s no way to treat your wife
So, nearly 50, off I go
Women’s Aid welcomed me so
No judging the decisions you’ve nervously made
They support and comfort you even through the mistakes
Never did I know this Charity’s achievements
Without them I believe there would be more bereavement
I wake up each morning, a new day awaits
Life’s so much better with my brand new mates
For all that they’ve done I could never repay
But thank them all for each new day.

I went to Women’s Aid a year ago and it was the best move I ever made. I got re housed and my life has got 100 times better. If you ever need help contact Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire because they will never let you down.

I am a 57 year old woman who lived for many years in a totally unacceptable marriage with many forms of abuse, and for years wanted to leave. I tried and left many times, only to return through feelings of being a burden to the different people I turned to at these times – until I got to the Refuge and then I felt so different from before.

I found a haven of peace, support from my key worker who helped me through the fear and confusion I felt. The Refuge I lived in was very pleasant, well taken care of and I had no problems at all. I only wish I had known about it sooner. Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire is such a worthwhile agency and perhaps deserves more credit for the hard work they do. Women need so much support – physically, emotionally and mentally. Only other women I believe can give each other that. Thank you.

womans-aid-2014Women’s Words