What is 16 Days of Action?
The 25th of November marks the start of 16 days of action. This is because the 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW 2020), for 16 days from then to the 10th of December (Human Rights Day) you can take action to support women and girls and raise the profile of male violence against them.
For our 16 days of action we wanted, as always, to keep victims central to everything we do. That is why we asked for their voices. We thank them for trusting us and to any victims and survivors out there we are here for you 24/7 – reach out.
16 Days of Action Quotes from victims and survivors
- “It is all in your own time and it is all when you feel ready”. (DA Survivor – Anon)
- “Although I wish I had have recognised the abuse earlier talking to someone openly and honestly about what I have experienced helps me understand that I am not to blame.” (DA Survivor – Anon)
- “Never stop fighting for your freedom, you are worth it” (DA survivor – Anon)
- “Being able to make a cup of coffee, in my own kitchen, without fear is the best thing imaginable” (DA survivor – Anon)
- “You mean more to people than you realise, believe in yourself as much as your friends believe in you and you will break free” (DA Survivor – Anon)
- “There is always light at the end of the tunnel” (DA survivor – Anon)
- “It is tough to make the decision to leave, but when you do, and you have the support around you to do so, it is good and it is worth it. It is good to talk. You must always talk to people to get through it.” (DA survivor – Anon)
- “I stood up for myself and I’ve shown him I’ve stood up for myself so it’s been worth it” (Sexual Violence Survivor – Anon)
- “My children are the silent witnesses to the coercive and controlling behaviour which governed our lives. Although they are moving forwards, they, like me, are strong and practised against the dominator, we will always remember the fear of the unexpected, be vigilant to the change of tone, the treading of eggshells and the ultimate questioning of ‘self’. I now teach such abused children and I bear witness to the lasting damage to those children who have witnessed this abuse. I urge every authority to be vigilant of every health appointment being missed, any child unexpectedly being removed from school and the questionable responsibility of a new stepfather. This voice is sent especially to the Armed Forces to acknowledge and pay respect to the voices of the wives and children of the culpable perpetrators. It is OK not to be ok but it is NOT ok to do nothing about it.” (Sandy Noble – DA Survivor)
- “I just want to tell other women that when you feel like you are falling there is a whole army of us ready to catch you. You don’t need to explain because we have lived it, we know, we see, we are here for you and we believe you.” (Shonagh CEO)
- “Do not look in his eyes for answers. Do not look to him for kindness. Don’t hold your eyes down when he tells you you’re dirt. Look up. Look for women. Listen to what they tell you. Block your ears to his poison. Let women’s love show you the way out and then never look at him again. See your future clearly. It will be bright and clear and you will shine in it.” (Jean Hatchet – Survivor of Male Violence)
- “It’s not your fault, whatever has happened you did not “deserve it” no one deserves this treatment or abuse eventually the torment and pain will make you question what is actually happening, don’t be afraid to get help. Don’t let them win, fight with every ounce of strength you have left, especially in those really dark times when you cannot see the way forward, you feel worthless or question everything you do and why you are doing it. The true you will come through this, you will win this battle, don’t allow the shame and embarrassment to ruin your life further, there are people out there who genuinely care and love you for who you are.” (Childhood Sexual Abuse survivor – Anon)
- “My father died three years ago and at 52yrs old this was the first time in my life I felt free from his control and bullying. The sense of fear never leaves you but with therapy and support you learn how to manage it. On his deathbed the Dr told me all I could do now was hold his hand and tell him how much I loved him – my heart sunk because I simply couldn’t do that but wanted more than anything to be like a “normal” grieving daughter; he took that away from me. I can’t change my lived experience and now use it to train the police and support victims – without my childhood experiences I wouldn’t have the empathy and emotional intelligence I now possess nor the passion for the work I am privileged to do. Every cloud has a silver lining and I have turned my bad experiences into a positive – I have chosen not to let my past define me as a person and to find happiness. Never underestimate the long term impact of DA on children”. (Childhood survivor of DVA – Anon)
- “You might not think you are strong enough to leave, but you are. You might not think you can cope, but you can. Look at what you’re coping with already. There is a brighter future without abuse, where you can be yourself. Reach out, ask for help. Change your life.” (Rebecca – DA survivor)
- “What would I tell other women? Whatever I did say when I opened my mouth, it sure as shit wouldn’t be judgmental or dismissive. I would open my ears, and my heart to help women. My connection with other women in the aftermath of fatal abuse is essential to my mental and physical well-being. Women helped my healing. Protecting myself through the sharing of knowledge, experience and activism, telling Dawn’s story. Reach out. There are Women who will help you get to a life you want, free from abuse.” (Kirsty – Sister to Dawn Rhodes a victim of Domestic Abuse)
- “Those days that you feel you cannot continue, remind yourself that it is your own strength that gets you through. That cannot be taken. You are a survivor. From one survivor to another, you are believed and you are not alone. “Inner Strength Cannot Be Broken”” (Gina, Advocate – Aurora New Dawn).
- “My dad was abusive to my mum when I was a child, and some of my earliest memories are of feeling afraid for her and for myself. There was no support for me when I was a child. We weren’t picked up by social services, my school didn’t notice, no one ever asked me whether anything was wrong at home. I am often amazed that now, almost 40 years later, there is still little dedicated support for children who have lived alongside or directly suffered domestic abuse. We recover from the scars left on our bodies, but those left unseen in our minds may never heal. The effects last a lifetime, and if I had one wish for IDEVAW 2020 it would be to improve support and funding for services, not only for adult victims of abuse but for children. If I could travel back in time, I would tell that little girl who was me just one thing: It’s not your fault.” (Sarah – Childhood Survivor of Domestic Abuse)
- “I am a survivor of domestic abuse experienced some thirty or more years ago. Back then, for a long time, I did not believe I could leave, or that I would be able to survive and look after my children if I did. But eventually, I did leave, and though living as a single parent was really hard, it became the best decision I ever made. It turned out everything my husband had told me about myself and what I was capable of was wrong. I could stand on my own two feet, I could manage alone, I could look after my children. For IDEVAW 2020, I want to tell any woman who is in the same position today as I was then: you deserve to be happy, you have the right to be free, and you deserve a life without fear or self-doubt. It’s ok to be afraid, and you’re not alone, there are people waiting to help you – just like the amazing team at Aurora. And whenever you’re ready, you can do this. We’re with you.” (Angela – Survivor of Domestic abuse)
- “I am sixty eight and I am a survivor of domestic abuse. When I was twenty two, my husband was failing at university, flunking the course and not attending lectures. He drank heavily and began taking his misery out on me. He throttled me repeatedly and broke my rib. Everything was my fault. He told me I was a rotten wife (I believed him) and that he had conjugal rights. There were rapes and still I did not leave him. I had nowhere to go as I had left home to escape abuse.
“I eventually found the courage to leave, walking out a couple of years later with nothing but the clothes on my back, my purse and five pairs of knickers in a plastic bag. No car, no mobile. Nowhere to go but a friend’s sofa. I’ve never felt so alone, but it was the best thing I have ever done. Nothing comes close to the amount of courage that took. My life changed completely, for the better, from that moment. I’m so proud of me.
“I took far too long to leave. I took far too long to get help. However I did it. And I survived. Everything I have done since, all the successes in my life, started from that moment. I have made a fantastic life for myself. The anger still burns, but I healed.
“Unfortunately, my history is a familiar tale to so many people reading this. I just wish I could go back and talk to that young girl that I was. What would I say?”
- It is not your fault.
- Leaving is so hard because your confidence is destroyed, you feel trapped. Nothing will ever feel as bad as this.
- Phone for help. Tell someone. Phone Aurora New Dawn. Listen; they have ways to keep you and your family safe, and when you are ready, you can escape.
- You are worth so much more than this.
- You are not alone. So many people can understand what you are going through, and can help you in all sorts of ways. I started telling a few trusted friends about my early life, as I got older. What amazed me was how many said: “Oh, that happened to me.”
- You can survive this, and once you have, your life can begin again and you will realise how good life can be ….. and that you can survive anything.
(Valerie – survivor of Domestic Abuse)
How can you help?
You can help Aurora raise vital funds during the COVID19 pandemic:
You can find out more about 16 days of action here.
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