Talking it out, drawing it, writing it down – creating something else from suffering. I am lucky, I have always made up stories from the stuff of life. I suggested to the staff at the various centres that it could be possible to offer creative writing classes. They told me how therapeutic that would be, how they had long wondered how to go about organising such a thing. They told me they had no budget. They told me they had no remit to even spend time researching the idea. They told me creativity is cathartic. Last week I made one small comment on a twitter thread and almost immediately someone responded. I did not, do not know her, do not know her work, but somewhere in my heart I knew she was what they were looking for. And then another woman offered, and then another….Women’s Aid centres in Elgin, Ross-shire and Skye will have creative writing classes.
Often health care professionals, police and even friends will not, can not hear your cries for help. Your abuser may manipulate anyone to their own advantage. This is my experience. I asked my doctor for help. I spoke to my abuser. I was clear in what I was saying. The name calling, the insults, the gas lighting, the control, the lies, the blaming were all destructive and abusive. No one could help. I became ill. I lost any sense of self. I felt I was dying.
It never gets better. It never stops. It only gets worse. When someone begins to abuse another, they will continue. They will increase their attacks in both intensity and regularity. They will not apologise. They do not want to know that their behaviour is harmful. They do not care about the damage they cause. This is what I learned. Do not wait for it to get better. Do not wait for your love to see sense. Get out, get safe, before you are destroyed completely.
The first validation I had was from Lesley Jagger of Skye Women’s Aid. She was the catalyst. She saw and heard my situation for what it was. I had been writing down everything. Every conversation, every argument, every nuance of my nightmare and making fiction of it. That was the only way I could cope. I had to make sense of it all, had to get it out of my head. I began to take the bones of my truth and create stories from it. I could see how huge the whole thing had become – how my home life had seeped into every other area of my living. It was only then I could share what I had written with others. One dear wonderful friend heard my heart in those typed words. He sent me a Knight with a van to get us out.
We needed food parcels. We needed toiletries. We still need counselling. Those services are provided by Women’s Aid. Women’s Aid exists to support vulnerable women and children. They do whatever it takes to keep us safe. Year on year they build their range of services to help women and children in difficult situations. This year there will be another service offered to vulnerable women via Women’s Aid. Plans are now underway to offer creative writing classes to women who have escaped domestic abuse. I am proud to tell you that esteemed poets and authors have offered to donate their time and expertise to travel to Scotland to help get the hurt out and on to paper.
Books heal. Writing heals.
If you can, please keep sending books.
Skye Women’s Aid, 3 Douglas Row, The Harbour, Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland, IV51 9DD
Ross-shire Women’s Aid, The Square, George Street, Dingwall, Scotland, IV15 9SA
57A Marleon Field, Silvercrest, Elgin, Moray, Scotland, IV30 4GB