I grew up in a home darkened by domestic violence – which I wrote about two years ago. My father was an angry and unhappy man who was not able to control his emotions, or his hands. I witnessed violence against my mother and felt powerless to stop it. When Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, asked me to become a patron, I accepted without hesitation. I accepted for my mother. As a child, there was little I could do to help her. But now I can give support and encouragement to women who live in the same sort of fear that she did.
Refuge – along with other women’s charities – is facing its toughest year to date. The gradual erosion of statutory funding has made Refuge even more reliant on voluntary income, but fundraising is an uphill battle. Domestic violence is still shrouded in myth, and too few people truly grasp its prevalence in this country. More money is given to the Donkey Sanctuary than to the UK’s two largest domestic violence charities.
It saddens me beyond description that women and children experiencing domestic violence today are being left to deal with fear and abuse on their own – just as my mother was, more than 60 years ago. The government says that its ambition is “nothing less than ending violence against women and girls”, but there is nothing ambitious about its relentless demolition of a sector that protects the most vulnerable members of our society. (To show your support visit www.refuge.org.uk or www.justgiving.com/PatrickStewartforRefuge)
To read the entire piece at The Guardian, click here: “Domestic violence blighted my home. That’s why I support Refuge.”
(And yes, I am aware that in the title to this post, I mixed my geek references. Sue me).