November 30, 2020
Domestic abuse during lockdown, Maggie’s story #16days
Leaving domestic abuse during lockdown
Maggie* left an abusive relationship during lockdown. This wasn’t easy. As is often the case with domestic abuse many people remain in the relationship whilst desperately seeking an end to the violence. This can be to protect their family unit, for fear of the consequences or because they choose to remain in the relationship. There are so many complicated factor and emotions at play and nothing is simple. During lockdown some of these circumstances have been heightened as people have spent more time indoors with the perpetrator and felt more controlled and found the practicality of leaving far more difficult. Finding a safe place to go can be difficult any time and, during a pandemic, more people have felt increasingly trapped.
Maggie started support with Kim face-to-face whilst still in the relationship. She developed a trust with Kim and they talked about the best options available to her in the safe space of our Ruby @ Turnaround offices in Liverpool. When lockdown began this support moved to phone counselling. Maggie explains how Kim has always been available as soon as she can, she’s taken the time to call her outside of her normal work schedule too when Maggie really needs support and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. Maggie has needed this domestic abuse support more than ever in recent months.
Practical domestic abuse advice
Maggie has also been surprised by the practical support that’s been available to her on top of counselling. Her daughter lives far away and Kim was able to arrange for Maggie to safely travel to visit her and her grandson through a partner agency of Ruby @ Turnaround. She was provided with train tickets and given the opportunity to see her daughter and grandson during lockdown. At a time when she was feeling particularly isolated this really supported more positive mental health.
The most difficult event for Maggie was being forced to leave her own home during lockdown. She is still very upset about this and feels like she has lost so much as a result of the abuse. ‘I’m having to start all over again’, Maggie says. As she talks about the support she’s got in sourcing furniture and making a new home her tone lightens. One of the biggest things that’s stuck out for Maggie is Kim telling her, ‘You know if you decide you’re going back…I’m still going to be here for you’. Our Ruby @ Turnaround offer completely open-minded support to survivors of domestic abuse whether they choose to leave or remain in the relationship. This has been really enlightening to Maggie and made her feel completely un-judged and respected no matter what. She’s seen as a person capable of making her own choices in life and the team understand that domestic abuse decisions are never easy.
Domestic abuse support for the whole family
‘She’s contacted my children too’, says Maggie about Kim. It has been a great support to have someone explaining the situation who can give her family advice on what Maggie is going through. They feel stronger as a family as a result of this. Maggie was in fact first referred to Ruby @ Turnaround after a fight with her daughter escalated and she was arrested. Now they are rebuliding their relationship and supporting each other.
After ten months of being supported by Ruby @ Turnaround Maggie feels they is more that needs to happen in terms of support but she’s in a much better place. She would like to continue counselling with Kim for as a long as possible and is happy to hear that Kim can be so flexible. Even now that she has left the relationship, she still has things to work through and Kim has told her that she can come back whenever she needs It. ‘You’ve always got my number, she said, I’m here for you whenever; and that means so much’.
Now that Maggie has someone to turn to who she trusts she feels so much more positive about the future.
‘I would tell anyone thinking about getting support to definitely get in touch. There’s no pressure. They’re there to support you. They don’t make decisions for you. They just look after your safety and care about you’.