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COVID-19 Isolation Challenge

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging and can leave us feeling isolated and distant from our friends and family. However, at Press Red, we appreciate this is often how many victims of violence feel - scared, alone, isolated, and distant. Victims of trafficking, domestic violence, child brides, and other forms of abuse can often be locked away and isolated from society, trapped and scared for their lives. Our Press Red Ambassadors took part in an Isolation Challenge sharing their thoughts, prayers, and encouragements during the UK lockdown. We will be sharing a few of those thoughts here each month.

Addressing The Misuse of Power And Exploitation of Women In The Age Of COVID-19 by Esther Adu-Dwumaa

For this piece, I have decided to focus on harassment as a form of abuse and violence against women.

According to the legal website Rights of Women, harassment is defined by the law as behaviour motivated by intimidation. The website focuses on harassment against women in relationships, mainly heterosexual relationships.

Harassment in heterosexual relationships can come in many forms. It can come in the form of a malicious written message, stalking, a threat or malicious comment, violence against a woman, damage to a woman’s belongings, and malicious false accusations against a woman.

Women have found themselves feeling trapped in abusive situations due to being asked to stay at home due to the Coronavirus. I struggle to imagine. Harassment is a form of emotional abuse, especially in a relationship. Harassment is, therefore, the misuse of power, where a man exploits his partner’s vulnerabilities as a woman.

I would tell a woman who has found herself in this situation that she is indeed loved, no matter what else she has been told. I would want to help lead her to a safe place where she could lay her head in peace. I would want to help guide her to a place where she is constantly reminded that she is loved.

The Power of Prayer by Jen

For almost a decade, I’ve supported victims of domestic and sexual abuse. To many, it would be classed as a ‘career,’ but I don’t see it that way. From an early age, I desired deep within me to help people who had experienced such awful trauma. I have no idea where the desire came from, what triggered it, or why it became such a drive in my life.

I’m quite an emotional person usually, but somehow, I’ve managed to do my job over the last ten years without regularly bursting into tears. People, who know me well ask me how I do my job – why am I not an emotional wreck all of the time?

There’s a simple answer – God. He has given me all I need to support those who need it effectively. God planted something in my heart long ago that domestic and sexual abuse victims needed love, needed compassion and needed non-judgemental understanding.

That was before I had even heard of ‘honour-based’ violence, FGM, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation. Now my heart breaks that all this abuse and violence happens in our world – in God’s beautiful world.

I don’t believe for a second that our Heavenly Father, our King, our Saviour, ever wants someone to live in fear or ever to be abused in any way. Jesus came to Earth so that we could be free-living in fear of someone else is not freedom. Someone having power and control over you is not freedom. This wasn’t God’s plan for His beloved children.

When I started my ‘career,’ I didn’t realise it was part of God’s calling on my life – and my faith wasn’t in a great place at the time. However, I do not doubt that supporting victims of abuse is exactly what I am meant to do and that from before I was even born, God knew this is what He had planned for me.

Isaiah 61 v 1 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”.

Whenever I read this verse, it speaks to me, like God says, ‘Jen, that’s for you, my Spirit lets you do that.’

God wants us to help. He wants us to stand up for what is wrong in the world. He wants us to speak out for those who, at the moment, don’t have their voice.

I work in a secular society with my job, which means my faith is not something I can speak openly about to the clients I support. But there is always something I can do – Pray. When I’ve run out of words, or feel too overwhelmed by their story, or when I don’t know how to support them best, I pray.

If you don’t know how to support people experiencing, or risk of, abuse, or if you don’t feel you can help them directly, there is always something you can do – Pray!

Prayer changes things. Prayer makes a difference. So please pray. Especially now, in this time of lockdown, when victims of abuse have even fewer options available to them, are more at risk in their homes, and have less chance of leaving safely. Pray.

They Steal Your Identity by Karen Andrew

 

They steal your identity, the men who rape, abuse, assault, torture, torment, hurt, humiliate, mock, and then blame you.

They steal your identity, the women who groom, laugh at your pain, manipulate, sell you to their boyfriend’s friends,
misrepresent you, steal from you, read your diary and tell all and sundry, come into the comfort of your open home
and gossip about you, behind your back, apart from the sneering and mocking they save that for an audience.

They steal your identity, your parents, who’ve cared for you, given food and shelter, fun and laughter, yet they have allowed
you to be tortured, raped, and abused for years, those formative years. They saw what was happening, yet it still happened.

They steal your identity, your frenemies. Fake smiles, genuine smiles, genuine hugs, fake hugs, fake intentions, real intentions, fake compassion, phony love, enough said, just fake. They steal your time, energy, and love. Is it co-dependency? I’m so tired of it. It’s changing my personality, another theft.

They steal your identity, your family. No 1 and 2 are good friends, 3 and 4 are good friends too, 6 and 7 are best buddies, yet I’m number 5. They don’t trust you anymore, you gossiped and took the side of others against your parents, they will never know why. They don’t believe you anymore, the old me still reigns in their minds, but she’s dead now. They won’t, can’t, see the evolved me.

They steal your identity, the men you loved. The ex-husband tortured, manipulated, hit, lied, deceived, and did steal. Lots of money for gambling and well, who knows what else. What else could put these ideas of abusing women into his head, often hidden behind the bath panel, and used in secret.

They steal your identity, the people that get under your skin. Why would they want to live there? There’s only room for me! They agitate, manipulate, project onto you, play mind games, not fun games, yet, wait; they play those too, they have to, as you’d leave them behind. They are the centre; you are on the periphery. They shine, you’re dusty, they are always right, guess I’m still wrong, you can’t prove otherwise, no point in trying, they retaliate with a vengeance, usually passive-aggressively.

They steal your identity at a young age, all the big grown-ups who say you’re pretty and rub your chest, stroke your hair, kiss you, fondle your bum. They do steal every iota of who you are, those people. They are probably the worst of the lot, those people because they open the gates of hell for all the demons to stroll casually through.

The good book says the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Well, he’s done all of those to me. But now I’m a writer, and I have a voice; I can speak up and out, reach great heights, and stand up for myself. I want to fight the abuse, help to give identities back where they belong. I want to stop those little voices in the head that say, ‘haha, you can’t do that, who do you think you are, you’re nothing, you’re useless, no-one will listen to you.’ Well, we will see about that!

I am someone, and I have a voice, I am bright, I am a writer, I will fight this hidden pandemic (not so hidden now), but still spreading like a killer virus. I will fight with real love, not fake love; genuine compassion and empathy, not manipulation; the truth in all its rawness, not a mere version of the truth.

 

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