As International Women’s Day approaches and like many I look back at the disturbingly frequent cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG) that have been covered in the news, I am reminded of the importance of activism and the immediate need to be proactive in preventing the many needless deaths of women and girls in our society.
As a current Solace volunteer and survivor of domestic abuse and stalking, I found the training sessions very insightful, taught from experts in the field who take a passionate and serious approach to teaching the content.
In addition to gaining a more general understanding on topics such as safeguarding, coercive control and stalking, I learned crucial practical knowledge that I believe would have helped me incredibly when I was still trapped with my abuser. These include awareness of different types of abuse and contact details of specialist services and groups, including guidance on housing and financial assistance.
In particular, the group discussions on spotting the signs of domestic abuse and underlining the red flags of abusive behaviour confirmed to me what abuse encompasses, which was especially reaffirming as my abuser made me feel that the abuse was normal or and that I deserved it. It’s what makes this sort of training so useful to me as a survivor: it validated my experience of abuse and equipped me with the ability and motivation to help others.
Violence against women and girls is an ongoing epidemic occurring worldwide and we cannot afford to stay silent about it and do nothing. Inaction can cost a life, and its impact ripples through communities only to happen again if we continue to be bystanders rather than proactive advocates.
Knowledge is power, and the more of us trained to spot the signs of various forms of violence against women including domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault, the bigger the impact we have when we intervene in a safe, swift and informed manner. Intervention may not always be helping a woman leave her abuser it is often working with a survivor to stay safe within the abusive relationship whilst upskilling them around healthy relationships. It’s vital that everyone can identify domestic abuse and ex-intimate stalking and know what a safe response looks like. It’s also crucial that all workplaces have a domestic abuse policy and a separate stalking policy and receive training in order to enact these life-saving policies.
So, this International Women’s Day, explore and register your interest in Solace’s wide spectrum of upcoming informative and interactive training sessions by emailing: [email protected].
Lisa, Training Volunteer