Why I support Voices and the White Ribbon campaign by Peter Brandt
I’m fairly liberal in my views and support the rights of individuals to live their lives as they wish with the proviso that they don’t harm anybody else.
As a Probation Officer I always saw my job as having two facets, the first to support and rehabilitate the person who has broken the law and the second to support and protect those who are at risk of harm from them. I have met innumerable people who have committed a range of serious offences, but met many fewer victims of their offences, and then often through the limited information contained in their witness statements and the focus was on one act or set of acts which led to the conviction.
When I first met the women who went on to form Voices I met a group of people with wide and varied histories who had a single vision to support other women who had been, and were, experiencing domestic abuse. I really began to understand that domestic abuse is not a one off event that occurred but a sustained deliberate campaign by one individual to coerce and degrade another which pervades all aspects of the survivor’s life. Additionally I learned that a range of mechanisms within the state can be, and are, used by the abuser to sustain that control, including legal procedures long after the perceived relationship has ended and the survivor has moved on.
I know that domestic abuse exists within many different relationships, but it is a fact that it is predominantly girls and women that die at the hands of partners and ex-partners, at the rate of about two a week.
As a man I believe it is incumbent upon us all to stand up to say that we will not tolerate the abuse of others, to ask the question to see if somebody else is ok, and also to offer our support however we can to those who have experienced abuse to assist them in building the life they wish to have.