The courage to speak out

A week ago, I wrote about my experiences in an abusive relationship.

It was a bit daunting, not knowing what sort of response I would get for opening up and admitting to what kind of life I had lived. When Saturday rolled around, I felt sick. Would people criticise me for being stupid to put up with it? Would they think less of me because of this? Would they suggest that I was exaggerating, or that I was just being vindictive writing my story at all?

The response was hugely heartening. I received phone calls, emails and texts congratulating me for having the courage to put my story - a story shared by many, many women - out there. There was shock from some people who knew me but didn't know that part of my story.

But best of all was the feedback from other women who related all too well to my story; women who said, or wrote, "I can't believe you said that out loud, I thought it was just me" to my statement that abused women fantasised about their abusers dying.

So, I am glad I wrote my story. I hope that it has opened the door to more conversations about abusive relationships. And, most of all, I hope that it might help even one woman who is living with abuse.

As a postscript, I am cheering at the news that Nigella Lawson has reportedly moved out of the home she shared with her husband, Charles Saatchi. The iPad had another close call when I read that he'd made yet another statement, this time claiming that the "nose tweak" was actually him trying to get some snot out of Nigella's nose. Someone tell the man to shut up and stop digging himself a bigger hole.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or believe someone you care about is, contact South Canterbury Women's Refuge at 0800 007 750 or 03 684 8280.

The Timaru Herald