‘Homelessness and domestic violence often walk hand in hand’. Tee Falcone, a member of St Mungo’s Client Advisory Board (CAB) and Ambassador for Women’s Trust, one of our partner organisations, is passionate about combating homelessness and domestic violence. She tells us about the ‘Paint the World Orange’ campaign. This aims to bring hope and a brighter future to homeless women who are victims of domestic violence.
From today, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to 10 December, Human Rights Day, I personally ask you to raise as much awareness for the ‘Paint the World Orange‘ Campaign to combat the detrimental effects to end violence against women worldwide.
Earlier this year, I was told the St Mungo’s Client Advisory Board were looking for new members. My initial response, however, was ‘I’ve never experienced homelessness so what can I bring of any benefit’?
Through my work as an Ambassador for the charity Women’s Trust- which helps women in London affected by domestic violence and abuse to overcome the mental and emotional harm and rebuild their lives – I decided that in fact there was something of great value I could contribute to the CAB.
I have also been asked to join the St Mungo’s Women’s Strategic Implementation Team and look forward to getting started.
During our CAB meetings I address women’s issues in particular – this has become my specialist subject.
I focus on empowering women back to gaining their confidence and self-worth through my talks, discussion groups and therapeutic writing sessions – this passion runs through my veins.
Today, we are all making a pledge and mine is to continue my work to empower homeless women, not only from St Mungo’s but all survivors of domestic violence who have been broken down and stripped of their confidence.
A little about domestic violence
In the UK, two women every week are killed by their perpetrators. This often happens at the time of leaving them- the most dangerous time, hence why the women flee. They often do so with only the clothes they are wearing.What a shocking statistic!
One in four women will experience domestic violence at some time in her life.
Domestic violence is the most common cause of depression in women.
64% of women affected by domestic violence have post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms range from flashbacks, hyperarousal (a state of heightened psychological and physiological tension or ‘feeling on the edge’), substance misuse, numbing of emotions, depression and anger avoidance.
One incident is reported to the Police every minute (Stanko 2000).
Other psychological impacts of domestic violence include anxiety, social phobia, panic attacks, self-harm, eating disorders, low self-esteem and damage to confidence, trust issues.
Domestic Violence is about power and control
A few questions you can ask yourself are:
- Is a woman forced to alter her behaviour to keep her partner happy?
- Does he force her to have sex when she doesn’t want to?
- Does he verbally abuse her?
- Does he blame her for the abuse?
- Does he constantly criticise her?
- Does he tell her she is useless and couldn’t cope without him?
- Does he control her life, take her money? Tell her what to wear?
- Is she nervous and worried about ‘what he will say/think?’
Domestic violence can affect women years after their initial abuse. Specialised counselling is available that can help rebuild a woman’s shattered perspective of life, help build a more trusting future and re-evaluate their sense of self.
So, let’s work together to ‘Paint the World Orange‘ and do all we can to raise awareness. Wear an orange ribbon and allow people to ask you what it represents, spread the word, it’s what the UN needs us to do.
Domestic violence also affects men and I pledge to work with them too.
I’m proud to be doing my bit!
The colour orange signifies brightness, hence making the world brighter.
Violence against women must stop. FULLSTOP!
Tee is one of the guest speakers at our London Carol Concert and Reception taking place on the 15 December. Tickets are still available here.