Watch this video and click on your own unanswered answers and then share as far and wide as you can to stop domestic abuse. Click on the buttons above the post for easy sharing – thank you

Chances are someone around you is suffering but can’t talk to anyone. I’m very lucky this has never happened to me but it’s a big problem out there and it breaks my heart to think of women being treated so badly and being unable to do anything about it, please help me spread awareness about Refuge and let’s start helping these women to help themselves.

Mari x

The campaign video above – available on www.1in4women.com as well as YouTube and Avon/Refuge Facebook channels – launches ahead of the international and UN supported campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which starts eleven days later on 25th November 2012.

Tomorrow, 14th November, Avon UK and national domestic violence charity Refuge will launch a ground-breaking, interactive video campaign to encourage people to recognise the signs of domestic violence and learn more about how they can support friends or loved ones who might be experiencing domestic violence.

The “Support a Friend” campaign is the latest phase of the joint ‘1in4women’ campaign, launched by Refuge and Avon last year, reflecting the statistic that one woman in every four will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime.

The video, animated by French musician and film director Fursy Teyssier, will drive people to the campaign website www.1in4women.com, which offers a wealth of information about the signs and causes of domestic violence. The 1 in 4 Facebook App, launched last year on Refuge’s Facebook page, will continue to be a key part of the campaign which will drive awareness and share the campaign message.  The App works out how many of the users’ female friends could experience domestic violence based on the shocking 1 in 4 statistic.

The Campaign
The striking ‘Support a Friend’ animation video sets up four scenarios and asks viewers what they might consider doing in each situation to support a friend experiencing domestic violence. The animation unfolds in different, dramatic ways according to the responses given.

Get Involved
The video will go live on 14th November 2012 – to tie in with the ‘1 in 4’ statistic – with an official launch at 14:00, the time of day when the Refuge website www.refuge.org.uk receives the most visits.  In the days and hours leading up to the launch supporters can visit www.1in4women.com to sign up to a Thunderclap, which will automatically send the tweet “#1in4women experience domestic violence. Would you know how to #supportafriend? Find out now.” at 14:00 on 14th November 2012 – calling on women everywhere to watch the animated video and learn more about domestic violence.

The campaign video – available on www.1in4women.com as well as YouTube and Avon/Refuge Facebook channels – launches ahead of the international and UN supported campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which starts eleven days later on 25th November 2012.

At 14.00 on 14th November 2012 thousands of independent Avon Representatives across the UK will be logging on to view the campaign video and urging all their customers to join in and support the cause.

woman anxiousThis weekend at the fabulous Brit Mums Live I shall be showcasing my work as a Give As You Live Ambassador, I have moved on to my second charity since running the campaign, Women’s Aid and here Liz Sully the fundraising officer for Women’s Aid explains a little more about the subject. Please listen and spread the word and download the Give As You Live app today – start donating money whilst shopping online to charities without spending a penny more – it makes perfect sense!

Domestic violence isn’t something we often talk about openly. In many ways, it’s still seen as a taboo subject. Something that happens to other people, behind closed doors. It is shrouded in silence, and this silence means that all too often it continues undetected. Just because domestic violence isn’t spoken about, it certainly doesn’t mean it’s not happening. One in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, and two women are murdered by a current or former partner every week.

There is no typical victim of domestic violence. Women from all walks of life experience domestic abuse.

No-one asks to be abused, and being repeatedly hurt or controlled by someone you love is perhaps the cruelest abuse of all.

Anyone can unwittingly become a victim of domestic abuse. From the mother scared she won’t be able to provide for her children if she leaves, to the lawyer who feels too ashamed to admit that she’s petrified of her partner. From the 16 year old girl in her first relationship whose boyfriend makes unwanted sexual demands on her, to the pensioner abused throughout her 40 year marriage, and who feels trapped by ill health and fear of coping alone.

mother-child

At first abusers can be loving, kind and caring. But over time their ‘love’ becomes aggressive and increasingly controlling. Often, by the time a woman realises she is being abused much damage has already been done, affecting not only her but also her children and other family members for years to come.

To leave an abusive relationship demands incredible courage. The threats of violence can escalate as the abuser realises he is losing control. Support for women at this crucial time can mean the difference between getting out safely or extreme danger – and that’s where Women’s Aid comes in.

Since 1974 Women’s Aid has helped millions of women and children to escape abuse and rebuild their lives. We co-ordinate a network of local domestic violence support services that provide over 500 refuges, helplines, outreach services and advice centres.

hand to face

Changes in the law, leading to better protection for women and children from the police and other front line services, have been made as a result of the leading role Women’s Aid plays in lobbying the government and other decision-makers.

Domestic violence doesn’t have to be a life sentence. There is help and support available, and many, many women come out the other side feeling stronger, happier, and ready to begin a new chapter of their lives.

Thank you to Mari for supporting Women’s Aid through her Give As You Live Campaign. Download the app and help raise money when you shop online.

To find out more about domestic violence and the services provided by Women’s Aid go to www.womensaid.org.uk

If you think you or a friend may be experiencing domestic abuse, and want to know more about how to recognise it, take our questionnaire at

http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-violence-survivors-handbook.asp?section=000100010008000100310004

Or visit our online Survivors’ Forum at www.womensaid.org.uk/survivors-forum

To donate go to www.womensaid.org.uk/donate

jazzsmilingtea

Otilia Stocks is a Romanian Mum living in London, she’s mum to a gorgeous little girl and a fabulous cook showcasing many recipes learnt from her mother ‘the best cook in the world’ Otilia can be found on Twitter and here she writes a stunning piece on Love and Hate which I challenge everyone to read and take note.

Please don’t forget I am supporting Women’s Aid in my Give As You Live campaign and if you shop online download their app and start donating the commission of your shopping to charity.

Otilia Stocks

My relationship with my father was always a bit difficult. I could describe my feelings for him as a combination of love and hate unfortunately.

When I was a child he use to be away a lot. Being a sailor it meant that he would be away for months at the time. My mum was working as well and I use to spend my whole week with my grandparents. I think that up to the age of 7 when I started school I spent 90% of my life with my grandparents. As this was before the “Revolution” and the abolition of communism it meant that it wasn’t anything unusual. Most kids use to spend more time with their grandparents. With my mum though I managed to develop a nice relationship in the end.

With my dad though…it was and it is a bit more difficult…

He has a very impulsive and violent character… Now he is a lot better than he use to be though…

When I was a child his mum (my grandmother) use to influence him a lot which meant that him and my mum use to have a lot of arguments which some times – quite often – end up with violence towards my mum. This again was not very unusual in the communist times as the women had to listen and comply. Sometimes…I use to be affected as well because I use to cry and try and protect my mum from the “nasty and violent” dad! These were the times when things were not that nice…

Otilia Stocks Silent Sunday

But then…he use to take me and my mum on holidays…and we use to have lots of fun… These were the nice times…

Sometimes my sister and I use to have lots of fun playing with him and he use to tell us stories and so on…but he could get really angry suddenly from something really small and smack our bottoms or faces…not very nice times…So in the end my sister and I use to avoid spending time and playing with him.

I grow up to be a very opinionated teenager and very little would get me in a lot of problems. Sometimes a low grade was followed by a big smack…sometimes coming home 5 minutes late from school had the same effect…

I remember that once I was smacked because he thought that I lost the house key. After smacking me well and calling me lots of words like “stupid” and “idiot” he found the key in his jeans pocket… Instead of asking for forgiveness from me or hugging me…he start laughing and he said it doesn’t matter he smacked me because I will probably do something bad later on anyway…

I don’t even remember how many times I was smacked while I was a teenager anymore…

He once throw a bottle of water at me because I asked him to talk a little lower as I was on the phone with one of my friends.

Sometimes the smack was just a slap over the face but other times it will get really bad…like bruises on my eyelids…

Otilia stocks

All I wanted when I finished high school was to leave home and never go back. This is why I chose to go to a university 2 hours away and moving there even though there was one 30 min away and I could continue to live with my parents. You can understand why… For some reason he approve me moving and I could never understand why…

Later on after I finished my university my mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my father changed. I think that the fact that his mother past away changed him too…Suddenly there was no more negative influence…6 years ago I got married and moved to England… He still gets angry sometimes but these days he is just sulking…There are now 10 years since my mum’s illness was discovered and as far as I know he never hit my mother again. He is doing everything he can to protect her and take care of her…I think he somehow thinks is his fault for my mum illness…Is not though…this is not something that can be the result of violence… He is trying to do everything he can to please me and my sister…but for me…he still is the person who was…

When I talk to him about things he sounds so understanding and calm. Sometimes when I have a different opinion then him or I ask for something that he doesn’t want then we argue again. It scares me because it reminds me of the person he used to be…and moments from my childhood of arguments in the middle of the night flash in front of my eyes…

Otilia Stocks

Sometimes I get angry and I hate myself for it…but deep inside I know is not my fault…I know that this is the way he affected my personality and the way I deal with things…I think that my depression might be somehow influence by what happened to me in childhood…

I’m afraid that my anger – even though with no violence – might affect my daughter… I hope not…I’m trying hard to stop from screaming (that’s all their is now) and my husband is helping me a lot…

I am sorry if I sadden you with my post….I felt that I can’t write about it on my blog but somehow it had to be out…so thank you Marianne for allowing me to write this as a guest post.

If you like me you had a similar experience I would love to hear from you. Maybe that way I’ll not feel so alone…

Avon and women's Aid Empowering Women AwardsYou may remember a while back I blogged about Avon’s Empowering necklace which you can buy for only £3.50 and Avon will donate all proceeds to their Domestic Violence charities. It’s really very pretty.

One in four women suffer from domestic violence in their lifetime and two women are killed each week by a violent current or former partner.

Well last week I was very lucky to have been invited to attend the Avon and Women’s Aid Empowering Women 2012 launch event. It was held at the elegant Soho Hotel and I feared I’d be turned away as everything I tried on for the event wouldn’t fit or wasn’t right – I ended up in jeans – again!

Needn’t have worried about the jeans as the focus, strangely enough, wasn’t on me but the Ambassadors Alesha Dixon, Will Young and Charlie Webster.

The annual awards ceremony, now in its third year, is designed to recognise the bravery and achievements of women survivors of domestic violence and those who work tirelessly to support women and children affected by abuse. Alesha who witnessed domestic violence first hand is calling on the people of Britain to nominate themselves or someone they know so they can be recognised for their bravery.

Avon Womens Aid Empowering Women Launch

This year’s award categories include Woman Survivor of the Year, Grass Roots Hero, Child Survivor of the Year and Outstanding Contribution (Judges’ Choice) and nominations can be made can be made at Avon just click on that link for a direct link to the nomination page.

Nominate someone

Women can nominate themselves, or others, at www.avon.uk.com from 24 May to 16 July.  The finalists will be invited to a ceremony at Claridges in London where their outstanding achievements in the fight against domestic violence will be recognised.

Here are my questions to you

  1. Do you know someone you can nominate for their bravery? Please do
  2. Can you share this post on your Facebook page and see it friends of friends know someone? Please do
  3. Do you have a Twitter account? Can you please Tweet this post to your followers? Please do

As the more the word gets out the more Domestic Violence charities can continue to do their very good work.

Shop online and Donate to your charity too

In fact, remember me telling you about Give As You Live? The mind boggling simple way to donate money to charity whilst shopping online? Well you can change your charity as you go along too. I have just clicked on my account and am now supporting Women’s Aid so every time I shop online a percentage of the commission of my purchases will now be donated to Women’s Aid.

I have a few birthdays coming up and Father’s Day of course and Hallmark is one of the over 2000 retailers who pledge to donate a percentage of their commission of my sale to charity, a quick peek tells me today they’re offering a whopping 9% here’s how I did it

I clicked on the Hallmark site and as I have already downloaded the Give As You Live app on my browser (see that little heart top left by the back/forward browser buttons?) this little box appears as soon as it sees I’m in a store that will donate.

Give As You Live donate box

I click YES and a moment later this box pops up to confirm my choice

Give As You Live confirmation box

I shop and pay the price of my shopping only no extras just a normal shop and shortly later I receive an email from Give As You Live to say ‘Thank you Marianne, we’ve just donated xx pence to here goes the name of your charity.’

The best news is you you can buy your car insurance, house insurance, clothes, toys and more. Just about everyone’s favourite retailers have signed up, check the list and see for yourself and it doesn’t cost you a penny more.

You can donate to Dogs Homes, Cats Homes, charities for children, homeless, medical research Download it today and get the heart on your browser too

give as You Live download page

Disclosure: Second of four sponsored posts. This is not a pay per click campaign, I was paid a sum of money to promote this good cause via blog posts, Twitter and Facebook