The Womens Quilt & Domestic Violence

By 8th August 2017 Uncategorised No Comments

My friend and colleague was murdered by her ex-partner, and father of her small child, nearly 25 years ago – back then (although we knew there something terribly wrong) we just didn’t recognise the warning signs about the danger she faced, we didn’t know how we could help to keep her safe.

@thewomensquilt commemorates the lives of 598 other women killed by their partner (between 2009 and 2015). One square for every woman who will never be able to contribute to anything ever again. Every week two more women die at the hands of perpetrators. 100,000 people (who are mostly women) and 140,000 children live in households where high risk domestic abuse is taking place (@safelives). Their lives are constantly damaged, their fear is huge and the impact of their experiences will never leave them.

Women through the ages and across the world have used stitching and embroidery to tell their own (and others’) stories when, frequently, there’s no other way to be heard. 2 ambassadors / trustees @corporatealliance are amongst those who are giving voice to the 598. Rosalind Jana describes stitches, embroidery and pieces of work as portraying messages, revelations, statements, whispers, and scraps of lives caught. The Womens Quilt is “provoking questions, and preserving histories. Capturing them. Marking them. Threading them. Leaving them to be read by others.”

Sadly we won’t yet stop the deaths of those two women every week nor the pain and degradation of the people and children at such high risk but we can use our voices and actions to make a difference.

Women's Quilt

25 years ago we had no idea that our employer could have supported my friend and we didn’t understand how unsafe and targeted she was whilst we were all at work but today @corporate alliance and @foryoubyou work together to provide a safety net for employees, their colleagues and their managers.

The Corporate Alliance provides employers with the practical tools, framework support and resources needed to take positive action to keep employees and employers safe at work and the Charity for Civil Servants provides the essential financial support and outreach to individuals impacted, to help ensure both immediate safety and longer term social and economic sustainability. Simply put – by working together we’ve created a strong response.

My friend, some of the 598 and so many others might be here today to tell their own stories today if we could replicate that response much more widely.

Judith Smith

National Director, The Charity for Civil Servants