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.