By Emma Robinson: Eastleigh Labour Women’s Officer
Eastleigh Labour Party would like to send our support and solidarity to Labour MP Rosie Duffield who last week spoke out in the House of Commons about her experiences of domestic abuse. Whilst debating the Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its second reading on Wednesday, Rosie spoke about her own experiences of humiliation, economic abuse, emotional abuse and control. Rosie highlighted the need to focus on the wide range of complex behaviours which doesn’t always include physical violence. Rosie explained how things were good in the beginning of the relationship “They don’t threaten criticise, yell or exert their physical strength in increasingly frightening ways”. “Not at the start. Not when they think you’re sweet, funny and gorgeous. Not when they turn up to your third date with chocolates, then jewelry.”. Rosie described a common pattern of charming behaviour to start which gradually changes to become verbally abusive, threatening and controlling, in some cases escalating into physical violence. Often this gradual change is subtle which makes it very difficult to identify the abuse until the levels of control so high it feel impossible and in many cases dangerous to leave.
Rosie was incredibly brave speaking about her own experiences, when we know that women often feel embarrassed about their experiences and as if they are to blame. The support Rosie received from the Commons was heart-warming, but we must ensure that we offer support to survivors of abuse and challenge the negative attitudes of some. In August David Davis and John Humphrys shared a “joke” live on radio about the World Tango Championships when a Russian man was disqualified for punching his partner. Attitudes like this making light of the devastating impact of domestic abuse act to silence victims, diminish their experiences and allow perpetrators to continue their abuse unchecked. What Rosie did was speak up for survivors ensuring their voices and experiences are heard.
We know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and that 2 women a week will lose their life at the hands of a current or previous partner in the UK. The BBC recent reported that the number of people killed as a result of domestic abuse is at a 5 year high. Despite apparent support from the government in the form of the Domestic Abuse Bill without consistent sustained support and funding for support services and perpetrators being held to account this seems sadly likely to rise.
If you have been impacted by domestic abuse, support is available and you can contact;
Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service is provided by Stop Domestic Abuse
Telephone: 03300 165 112
24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – For Confidential Help, Please Call 01823 334244
National LGBT+ Helpline 0800 999 5428