Over 2013 we have been proud to support Refuge, a vital charity that provides shelter and support to women and children at risk from domestic violence. The charity has recently shared the story of one woman called Emma who found herself in need of their assistance at this time of year and we would like to share this with you too.
My mother and father were together for 13 years. From a young age I remember his violence towards her. He would yell at her for cooking dinner wrong, wearing too much make-up… You name it – if he could find an excuse to hit her, he would. I remember walking into their bedroom, aged 7 or 8, and seeing her lying in a pool of blood on the bed. I didn’t know what to do. Afterwards, he would cry to me and say, “Your mum made me hit her. It’s her fault.”
Once, aged 9, I tried to intervene. I ended up getting hurt too. We tried to escape a few times, but he always found out where we were.
Then one day my mum made a friend – a woman who lived across the road. She saw what was happening to us and she understood. She told us about Refuge. We had no idea there was such a thing as a refuge – somewhere safe we could stay while we rebuilt our lives away from my father. It sounded like something out of a dream.
It was the 22nd of December – three days before Christmas.
He wasn’t at home, so now was our chance. We packed a few belongings into a black bin liner, watching the clock all the time.
When we arrived at the refuge, my mum had broken ribs and other injuries. A group of friendly women invited us in and showed us to our room. They gave us something to eat and drink. The house was nearly full, and another family arrived the next night.
We realised we weren’t alone.
Gradually, my confidence came back. I started to enjoy all the things I should have been enjoying at that age – going to school and making friends. Nine months later, my mum and I had our own home and we started a new life – one where we could be safe and happy.
I’m 31 now, I run my own business and I am happily married. My mum is married now too, to a wonderful man. She’s doing really well. Every year around this time I remember the woman who changed our lives – my mum’s friend who had that phone number on a piece of paper, three days before Christmas, 20 years ago…”
Refuge hears stories like Emma's every day. The charity needs your support to help them bring a happy twist in the tale of these stories. You can donate HERE.
There are other ways you can support Refuge this Christmas. The charity have teamed up with Emerald Street, the free daily email focusing on fashion, beauty, culture and careers. From now until 31st December Emerald Street will donate £1 to Refuge for every person who signs up with them, and until 23rd December, our great friends over at Benefit Cosmetics are giving 100 readers a day the chance to receive a They’re real! mascara – sign up without it costing a penny.
To add to this seasonal fundraising mix, we are donating £5 to Refuge for every BFF we make as part of our brand new Funny Friends scheme. To find out more about how to become a Funny Women BFF click HERE!