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January 9, 2016

Domestic Abuse – Why are these words still ‘taboo’?

With the news this afternoon that the man wanted for the murder of Sian Blake and her two small children, has been arrested in Ghana, we can hope that Sian’s family will see justice done and that Sian and the children will be able to rest in peace.  Right from the start, I knew this was a domestic homicide.  I always know, as I am sure anyone who work  s in the field also always knows.  But the words ‘domestic abuse’ are very rarely used in media reports.  Why?  Why in this day and age are these two words still a ‘taboo’ subject?  I have always felt that if these two words were used more often in media reports, then the scale of domestic abuse would be more widely recognised and understood by the general public.  Not a week goes past where we don’t hear on the television news, radio and newspapers, of women and/or their children being killed by their partners or ex partners.  I made a point this week of keeping count of how many I read about in the newspaper.  The tally is so far 6!!  I am sure there are more that I have missed.  But only 1 of those reports mentioned the words ‘domestic abuse/violence’.  And that was Sian Blake’s case.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was relieved that the words were used but there was still a ‘feel’ to the article that made it read as though this was not common.  Sadly Sian Blake’s case is all too common.

Many years ago the word ‘Aids’ was taboo aswell.  No one spoke of it or mentioned the word.  Now, Aids is not taboo at all.  People speak of it every day and no one is shocked anymore by it. There is now great understanding of the illness and that is because people talk about it openly.  Why is it then, that this does not apply to domestic abuse?  To help people understand more about domestic abuse, we have to stop treating it as a ‘taboo’ subject.  We need to name it, say it, and not be wary of doing so.  Who will join me?!

  • I first met Sharon back in 2000 when I went into a refuge she worked in after fleeing a violent relationship. I had two babies and virtually just a bag of clothes and a few toys with us. She helped me with appointments with the police, solicitors and..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Sharon when she was the Advocacy Manager at Woman’s Trust and I was working for Westminster City Council. During this time Sharon developed and managed the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service..

    Ainslie O’Connor – Principal Advisor for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Adelaide, Australia.
  • Thank you so much for all the support you have given me. You really have been amazing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with Child Protection without you. The amount of strength you have given me is totally priceless, even with..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I knew Sharon as a work colleague over ten years ago. At the time, she was supporting vulnerable people, some of them were homeless due to domestic abuse and substance misuse. For me, assisting such people was what anyone in her role would be expect..

    Ted Chanza, Head of Market Operations, Airtel Malawi Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa.
  • I have known Sharon for 6 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside her when I chaired the Westminster MARAC. Sharon is a committed, empathetic supporter of women who are or have experienced domestic abuse. She regularly goes the extra m..

    Former Chair of The Westminster MARAC.
  • I was fortunate to have had Sharon as my support worker after 17 years of domestic violence and 4 children that had witnessed and gone through it with me. I was finally strong enough to stand up and protect myself and my children. Without Sharon’s ..

    A survivor of domestic violence.
  • Without the support and constant reassurance of Sharon, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to her. She is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, having her on my side when dealing with someone as persistent..

    Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
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