Celebrating Margi Isaac

Margi Isaac, VOICES’ co-founder and long-term volunteer, has died of COVID aged 71, and VOICES is hurting, as we mourn the loss of a unique person who was the heart and soul of our charity. Today, as she is laid to rest, we remember her.

Here we include Margi’s own words and those of our Director Ursula as we remember her.

Our Director Ursula says…

Margi was a Cheshire-born nurse who met our and the other founders on the Freedom Programme in Bath in 2012, where we were all grappling with the impact of abusive behaviours in our lives and those of our children. She had lived with domestic abuse for 55 of her 71 years, as a child and adult, but always firmly rejected the labels of victim/survivor as she was an OVERCOMER, in capital letters!

Margi loved her family, friends and VOICES colleagues with a fierce passion. She had no time for people in positions of authority who either abused their power or failed to use it to support people affected by domestic abuse. She was adamant that far, far more should and could be done, and that VOICES would shine a light and show the way. Her experiences of homelessness due to abuse were used to inform others through her contribution to SafeLives’ Spotlight on this pernicious problem (https://safelives.org.uk/spotlight-5-homelessness-and-domestic-abuse).

She loved nothing more than to provide hope, happiness and tea and cake for any of our clients who needed her nurturing care. She was also a warrior for the rights of women she felt were being re-abused by court systems and services, and by churches that failed to protect DA victims in their faith communities. She was a supporter, mentor and friend and at 5 foot tall, took great delight in being described by a sneering barrister for the other side as another woman’s “bodyguard” through a family court process that exemplified everything that is wrong with the courts in dealing with domestic abuse. Above all, she brightened so many lives, including ours, with her silver DM boots, colourful clothing and flowers or Christmas bells in her hair, celebrating a life liberated from abuse and fear.

Margi signed every email and letter with:

Shalom, much love and a gazillion hugs to you all xxxxx

I was blessed to know you Margi, and we love you too.

Ursula

Here are Margi’s own words.

I am an Overcomer of 55 years of Domestic Abuse and Violence:

  • Indirectly (mainly) as a child, through my Dad’s abuse of my Mum.
  • Directly through two abusive husbands.
  • And some abusive men taking advantage of my vulnerability between marriages.

Echoes of abuse I witnessed within my parents marriage affected me greatly – I became a human ‘chameleon’!  I could enter a room with 50 people ALL with differing opinions, I would agree with all, offending none…  Because I never knew where the next blow might come from!

  • My first marriage ended after thirteen years.
  • I was in relationship with him from age 16 to 33 years of age.
  • I became Born again as A Christian AS my first marriage ended.
  • Jesus became my life, Enabling me to weather the heartache following.
  • Enabling me to keep life as ‘normal’ as possible for my young children.

My second marriage lasted twenty three LONG years and was the hardest to exit.

  • There is a ring of steel bars around ANY woman of Faith which is NOT there for other victims.
  • Well meaning people encourage us to stay/return even IF/WHEN they know the extent of abuse.
  • Leadership may tell us to ‘be Jesus’ to our abuser – no matter WHAT the cost to ourselves.

I helped found VOICES and love working as a volunteer with our ladies.

My Passion is to help them to BE able:

  • To re-find THEIR voice (because that IS the first thing we lose)
  • To re-find THEIR personality/character (they are NOT the person they have been moulded into)
  • To re-find THEIR hopes and dreams (because they got trashed along the way and we let go of them)
  • To encourage Christian victims to UNDERSTAND that God Loves them & will NOT turn away.
  • He WILL Bring Good OUT of their experiences, just as He has and is Doing for me, if we Trust Him too.

It is often said that someone was irreplaceable. It is in the spirit of VOICES that we say this of Margi. She, like us all, was one of a kind – but unlike some of us she had found her VOICE and used it proudly and fiercely.

Today we celebrate her life, and mourn our loss. 

Tomorrow we continue supporting other women and their VOICES – as we know Margi would want.

Rest well Margi.

Survivor consultation

Our stories, our VOICES.

When we set up VOICES, we were acutely aware of how difficult it is to speak to others about our experiences of domestic abuse, and how much more difficult it is to speak to people with power to make decisions and effect change. It became a key mission of VOICES to ensure this could happen in a safe, supported way.

VOICES has spent nearly 7 years developing services for people with experience of domestic abuse. The safe space and recovery support we provide for women long-term helps ensure we can find opportunities for clients to be consulted directly, to be valued for their contribution and to be supported before, during and after to take part in a confidential setting.

Women have taken part and made changes, their experiences influencing the changes made to the Domestic Abuse Bill (e.g. around special measures for victims in family courts), and informing new initiatives to combat financial abuse and hardship. Current consultations include with the University of Bristol Medical School, looking at GP responses to domestic abuse survivors during remote consultations, and with researchers at UCL and Kings College London, studying family mental health and wellbeing impacts of domestic abuse.

Our work is shaped by the testimony and suggestions of the many resilient and inspiring people we support, and we are proud of the contributions they make to improving the lives of others. Their insights and stories can increase the whole-picture understanding of trauma and recovery from abusive relationships and help people reclaim power and agency after experiencing abuse.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM VOICES

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Dear VOICES Community,
At VOICES, we are committed to continuing to provide a safe service to women experiencing or recovering from Domestic Abuse.
During national lockdown conditions from 5 January 2021, we will be suspending groups and face to face support and offering telephone / text / email support instead wherever possible.
Please call 01225 420249 or email info@voicescharity.org for further information or if you have any concerns about how the coronavirus situation impacts on you or your support from VOICES.
You can also check our FB page for updates.
For 24 hour Domestic Abuse advice call 0808 2000 247
Find NHS stay at home advice here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Always call 999 if you are at risk of harm or feel unsafe.
National lockdown Stay at Home measures do not apply if you feel at risk of harm. #YouAreNotAlone
Thank you very much for your understanding.
VOICES.

Day Sixteen 2019

25 Locks

BY NAOMI DONALD

I’m in a box with 25 locks
locked in for each one of my sins.  
“Don’t talk to her! Don’t talk to him!” 
Stay in the house while I go to the gym. 
Cook the dinner, you’re a sinner so get on your hands and knees,
Get on your hands and knees and you better start to f-ing clean. 
Clean the kitchen, Clean the bathroom and the living room too.
It better be done on time or you know what will happen to you, 
I’ll put you in the box with 25 locks, a lock for all your sins. 
I’ll put you in a box with 25 locks and put the key in the f-ing bin. 
 
So I’m locked in for all my sins and I begin to clean, 
I clean the kitchen, I clean the bathroom and I start cleaning the living room too. 
As I danced to the music, I moved the settee and tried to get in the party mood. 
I had the hoover on, danced to my favourite song, then turned around and bumped into you. 
My body went cold, my face looked old as I stood there facing you. 
I stepped back in my box with my 25 locks and I handed you the key.
I said don’t worry baby, I was thinking maybe I won’t go out for my birthday this year. 
It’s getting you mad which is making me sad, it’s not worth the ag, forget it I’ll stay in and I’ll just smoke a fag.  
What do you want for dinner, I don’t want to be a sinner I just want to be a good girl for you?  
You stood up and you stared, I wondered where, or what your next move would be.  
You grabbed me in my face and told me I was lying, I felt like crying, I felt like dying.  
You leaned into my face you were boiling with rage, you roared I felt your hot breath on my neck on this day. 

“YOUR A SINNER I SAID!! Get in the box with 25 locks, a lock for each of your sins!!
Get in your box with 25 locks and I’ll put the key in the f-in bin. 
He pushed my head down into the ground and said “GET ON YOUR KNEES YOU CLOWN.  LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE MAKING ME DO!”
I knew what was coming next, so I said F you, you prick there is no f-ing way I’m sucking your dick’!! 
You slapped me hard in the face, screamed at the bitch you f-ing hate, YOU SLAG, YOU UGLY BLACK LITTLE RAT!  
You grabbed me by my hair, you swung me around and I landed on the ground behind the chair. 
You’re a fucking prick I’m not having this, I said as touched my face and seen blood on my fingers. 
I’m not a sinner I’m a f-ing winner so now I’m going out tonight!! 

You went dark black at speeds quicker than a flip of a hat, next thing I know I was on laying on my back. 
I will kill you, you bitch, you’re an evil fucking witch look what your making me do.  
I feel like slitting your throat, putting you on a boat and dropping your body in the canal.. 
I looked into your black eyes and started to cry and started to apologise and beg for my life, who is this man I lay down with to make a baby so special and bright.
This black ugly cloud this black ugly monster was here to interrupt our life’s.  
Please, I’m sorry baby, it’s all my fault maybe? I’ll make it right just tell me what to do? 

I’ll get in my box with my 25 locks and stay locked in for each one of my sins. 
Back in my box with 25 locks and I will put the key in the bin. 

© Naomi Donald 20/11/2016

Blog: naomidonald.wordpress.com
Twitter: @NaomiDonaldPODS 
LinkedIn: Naomi Donald 
Instagram: naomi_donald_pods

Day Fourteen 2019

Should I Call You?

BY A FOUNDER OF VOICES

Should I call you when he spits at me?
It’s not a real crime though can’t you see?

Should I call you when he urinates on me?
It’s not a real crime though can’t you see?

Should I call you when he humiliates me?
It’s not a real crime though can’t you see?

Should I call you when he’s spent all my money and left me and the kids none?
It’s not a crime though – nothing can be done.

Should I call you when he’s telling me no one will believe me?
He said he’d tell you I’m proper crazy.

Should I call you when he screams ‘you fucking bitch I want you dead’?
But it’s only words that he’s said?

Should I call you when I daren’t say no to him in bed?
Wouldn’t make any difference ‘I’m his’ he said.

Should I call you when he says ‘I’m following you’?
What on earth can you really do?

If I call you I’ll lose the kids, the man I love, my whole life….
I just want to be a good devoted wife.

‘It’s a domestic the police won’t give a shit’,
He says every time after I have been hit.

He’s not scared of you, doesn’t give a shit what you say…..
Will do it all again the very next day.

He’s sorry, life will get better can’t you see!?
Don’t interfere and make trouble for me.

You gave him ‘words of advice’, what did you expect that to do?
Strangle me until I turned blue?

I need you to deal with him, believe the things I say,
Not just remove him and him be home the next day.

Understand how frightened I am, all the things he’s done and said.
Yes I do really believe that one day I’ll be dead.

Day Thirteen 2019

In A World…

BY A VOICES VOLUNTEER

In a world of silent screams and broken dreams
Oppression crowding our isolation
And darkness clouding our devastation

In a world where no one sees nor yet believes
Imprisoned by those bruiseless blows
But no one knows how deep it goes

In a world where joy is an object to destroy
Our breath just brushing past the lung
Like a hollow song unsung

Amidst this there is a wondrous find
A place to leave it all behind
To rise above the silent screams that echo in those broken dreams

To relish things which still remain, beyond the memory of the pain
To reach for joy and breathe deep once more
To feel life ebbing within our core

Such is the place found through Voices
A revelation that we still have choices
Freedom to Love and Live and Be is now so possible for those like me!