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”.
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