- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Blog, Feature
Last Friday evening I was marching around Nott Square at a candlelit vigil. It had been organised by Carmarthenshire Women’s Aid and the event was co-hosted by Phil Grice, Mayor of Carmarthen.
I was one of 40-odd men, women and children who were walking as part of white ribbon week. It was our way of showing publicly that violence in the home is always unacceptable.
Nobody should ever have to suffer the pain and humiliation caused by domestic abuse. Victims in 94% of cases are women. Let’s remember, too, that even when the physical scars may fade, the emotional scars can last a lifetime.
Also marching were representatives of Amnesty International. Most of us connect Amnesty with breaches of human rights in lands far-away. Unfortunately, we can come across the denial of human dignity through physical and emotional abuse in our country. It is something that it not confined by geography or by social class.
Those who took part in the march ended the evening in the Mayor’s Parlour thanks to the hospitality of the Cllr Grice. On Nott Square we heard from a woman who had suffered years of emotional, mental and financial abuse. It stopped only when her children were grown-up and she found the courage to walk out on the relationship.
She is now a volunteer worker for the charity Women’s Aid where she is in a position to offer help, support and advice to others who are suffering as once she suffered.
The march on the cold Friday in November will be a beginning and not a one-off. It is intended to repeat the event every year. So what do we want to achieve from all these activities? Raising awareness is the posh expression. Keeping your eyes and ears open may be a more down-to-earth and understandable way of putting it.
What does domestic abuse mean to you? Big words can sometimes cover up nasty little facts. The woman or the man who suddenly appears with the unexplained black eye; the little boy quietly withdrawing into himself; they can both be a sign of domestic abuse.
A popular word these days amongst young people is “respect.” We want to make respect for each other the norm and not the exception. It is an example where, for once the old cliché, charity begins at home is literally true.