Beyond survival

Victim or survivor

Survivor or victim? Surveying the draft Domestic Abuse bill of 2019/20 I feel disappointment at these limited options. What if I want to be neither? According to the government, there are only 2 terms for women like me – victim or survivor, madam? Officialdom chooses the term ‘victim’ throughout the bill, with no sense of irony. What a limited vision. There is a third way, even if we currently have no real label for it. What lies beyond survival?

Self help for the survivor = victim turns to survivor and proudly goes on tv/radio/stage with a makeover. She earns some money by telling us how she was strangled in her book and everyone vicariously joins in. She is a pretty picture for the press. What lies beyond survival?

The average working class woman escapes to a refuge with the children that she may or may not keep. This will depend on the addictions she has acquired and the legal sway of the abuser’s team. The draft Domestic Abuse Bill promises to ensure that she has a lifelong tenancy in social housing. She can bring up her children with government subsidy and get free treatment for her addictions. As long as she can bear the long waiting list. What lies beyond survival?

The average middle class woman stays for the status. Let’s be clear. But those (like me) who leave lose everything, 2 decades of mortgage payments, a family home, mental health and subsequent job loss (me again 2015.) They either go through the rental market and mix with the young, the addicted and abusive landlords. Or they jump to another abuser fairly quickly – and they have to put up with him this time because now their financial credit score is fucked. What lies beyond survival?

I am beyond survival but I do not yet have a name for it, I will. Give me time. Life Support is a new national network for survivors like me. We will be asking our members – what lies beyond survival? Life Support aims to ask the question – who are we now? Are we victims? Are we survivors? Are we something else not yet defined?

Life Support is a national network for survivors launching on November 25th. Listen to our launch on Black Country Matters Radio at 2pm on Sunday 24th November followed by 16 videos for the 16 days of activism – worldwide campaigning for the elimination of violence against women.

Alice Smith 2019

Published by 361one

when I write I am a king. Listen to more at 361 live podcast

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