Take action to end domestic abuse

Take action to end domestic abuse

On Day 3 of our 16 Days blog series, actor and new Women’s Aid Ambassador Lucy Gaskell invites you to join her in taking action to end domestic abuse.

This time last year, I stood outside Number 10 Downing Street with many brave survivors of domestic violence.  We held a candlelit vigil and delivered our petition of 38,000 signatures to David Cameron asking him to support refuges and save them from closure.  I was 6 months pregnant at the time.

Standing there with my baby bump keeping me warm, I looked at the faces of these women and wondered what had brought them here.  What had they been through?  Were they mothers and had their pregnancies been free of abuse?

I asked myself this because domestic abuse often starts, or increases, in pregnancy.  Abhorrent, isn’t it?  Imagine spending your pregnancy in fear, not knowing if your partner will hurt your baby. Then imagine knowing there is a safe place to go: a Women’s Aid refuge.

A few days later, we celebrated the response – a pledge of £10 million made available to refuges!  Now, this may sound like a heck of a lot – but the truth is that short-term relief does not stretch far. This money was desperately needed due to vicious funding cuts that had already happened. What we need is long-term support, to ensure refuges and specialist services do not face further closures. 

However, funding is only one part of the problem and the power to change and tackle this huge issue is not just in government hands.  As long as we are living in a society where domestic abuse kills on average 2 women a week, we need to ask, “How can I help?”

Firstly – speak out!  Every one of us has a responsibility to say that we will not tolerate abuse – in any of its forms.  Let’s speak out against comments and jokes made about domestic abuse that demean women or their experiences.  The more we do, the greater our collective power in raising awareness and ultimately beating this issue.

Secondly – fundraise!  It can be difficult; there’s a lot of ‘charity fatigue’ out there with requests for donations coming from every direction.  So, what can we do that’s fun and different?

Well, I started by inviting some friends to my house for dinner.  I cooked, and they donated what they’d normally pay for their dinner in a restaurant!  Now, I’m no Heston Blumenthal but I gave it my best and created a special evening with my friends that raised a bit for charity at the same time.  It was my opportunity to thank them for their friendship and to think of those women for whom a space in a refuge could mean the difference between life and death.

I didn’t expect to raise a fortune – but I might have made enough to keep a pregnant mother and her unborn child safe.  Could you do the same?

Why not host your own ‘Donate your Dinner Money’ evening? A fun night in that raises money for Women’s Aid at the same time?  Well, I could never tire of that…

Lucy Gaskell Dinner Party

Lucy Gaskell (centre) with her dinner party guests.

Take action!

FINAL 7About the author

Actor Lucy Gaskell is Women’s Aid’s newest Ambassador. She joined us for our SOS: Save Refuges Save Lives, candlelit vigil and is passionate about inspiring others to take action on domestic violence.

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