I have been waiting for the right moment to post this video because it's very important to me and many MEN and women out there. I do not talk about it too much on my blogs or in social media channels though some of my friends and colleagues know that I have been in a very abusive relationship/marriage with a man and over the years I grew to realise that my relationship with my mother was also quite controlling (and somewhat prompted my early models of relationships with men too). I have been fortunate to be born into an intelligent family with a firm set of values (on my father's side), study three languages in two countries and finally work all around the world so my understanding of this issue helped me later to close down all the controlling and abusive relationship. I have learned to re-define love, dignity, respect and many other basic values, but also human rights. I have also learned not to compromise my own conflicting feelings with the newly established system, way of living. I have also been extremely privileged to meet someone who shares those new values. As well as many amazing, brave, outspoken and really great men and women who understand those notions of control and power, speak up and make a difference. Jackson Katz is probably my largest inspiration at the moment because his work on educating men about those issues is crucial. As a society we are responsible for each other. It is hard. It can be scary. But we need to face it, if not for ourselves then for the sake of our kids and future generations. We do need to ask ourselves some painful yet obvious questions. I suggest you watch the TED talk presented by Jackson Katz and think about it a little:
For people who were affected by domestic abuse working out the right path raises some major issues because there is a tiny paradox in the way we relate to "victims". And I really like the fact that Katz starts with terminology. When I left my husband I was fortunate enough to be welcomed by my two closest friends with a huge bunch of flowers. Their deep understanding of me and my situation and the appreciation of my bravery made me feel like a hero. When I shared the news with the world on my blogs and in personal conversations however, many men and women started putting me in the "victim" box foolishly assuming that I can be easily controlled. Women's Aid and other women organisations warned me about it but I found it really hard to believe. But in the real life I had to stop and simply move on, life became easier and only trusted friends would know the truth. For six years I have been living the conflict of wanting to do something, react, share my story and not really knowing how, but - again thanks to a few amazing people - in the last six months I have clarified my new goals and decided to put it all back on my sites and in a book.
Why now? Just yesterday I was informed that my application for divorce has been approved by the other party so I feel this chapter is coming to an end. Both legally and emotionally I will be starting a new one. I will be writing down many more chapters, maybe even books, to ensure that what I have experienced, learned, sometimes conquered and very often re-discovered helps other women, but also men, to understand the underlying processes, paradoxes and complexities of domestic abuse. There is a notion on the above mentioned TED talk that made me feel a bit more hopeful - Katz refers to history of racial and sexual equality which made me think about the future, our future. Not so long time ago, in the 60's women were finally allowed to study at Cambridge University and look where we are today! So maybe our problems with talking about and understanding the reasons behind domestic abuse will turn into a historical learning one day soon? For women, but also for men. We are in this together and it's our responsibility to change.