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Breaking the Cycle of Violence: finding a place of peace

Breaking the Cycle of Violence: finding a place of peace. Women in Birmingham who have escaped violence at home talk to Siobhan O'Connell.

7 December 2008

Women who have been in an abusive relationship have low self-esteem. In this podcast Siobhan O’Connell meets women who have taken the steps to escape from a violent partner and who are seeking ways to lead fulfilled lives. As Maria from Birmingham says “he had total control over me, I couldn’t even go shopping for 20 minutes, if I went one minute longer I knew it was trouble”.

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In fact, Maria’s self-esteem got so low she literally lost her voice. Women like Maria often go on to repeat the same abusive relationship elsewhere: it is vital that they are given the appropriate kind of support once they have made the decision to leave their partner. Three years on, through the work of a small charity WAITS, Maria has found a voice in the community. She lives with her four children and has hopes of getting a job and one day taking her family on holiday. “WAITS...it’s place where I found myself at peace and not afraid to be myself. Everybody understands what I have been through...nobody will judge me”.

Through its strict adherence to anonymity WAITS supports women even when they are still in the abusive home, but such organisations are few and far between in the UK. Access to the unique support this kind of network can offer a woman is a postcode lottery - at a time when the need for this kind of service has taken on a new and urgent dimension, with more young women becoming trapped in the rise of gangs and guns in the city of Birmingham.

The music you can hear in this podcast is "Cherry Blossom" by Kevin Macleod (incompetech.com) licensed under Creative Commons

How can Americans fight dark money and disinformation?

Violence, corruption and cynicism threaten America's flagging democracy. Joe Biden has promised to revive it – but can his new administration stem the flow of online disinformation and shady political financing that has eroded the trust of many US voters?

Hear from leading global experts and commentators on what the new president and Congress must do to stem the flood of dark money and misinformation that is warping politics around the world.

Join us on Thursday 21 January, 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy 

Further speakers to be announced

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