Sometimes, I think ( I know) that the issue of domestic violence, and the work we’re doing at the Refuge, are very scary to people. How can you help? What can you do?
Remember this: violence is scary. These women are not. They are ordinary people, like you and me. Some of them have had rough as gut lives, some of them have not. Some of them have known nothing but violence, some of them are surprised by it.
Either way, whatever way they get into Refuge, by the time they get there, they’re ready for a break. And that’s what the Refuge provides for them. A break away, a respite, a rest before they start their new lives (or in some cases, resume their old ones).
And a rest is as good as a holiday. A’s kids call the Refuge the holiday house. Because they go camping every Christmas, they associate the building and the way they’re living in it, with holiday cabins.
That’s a pretty great thought, isn’t it?
Because it kind of is like that. It’s communal living, and there’s these large grounds with big beautiful trees, and an amazing playground. There’s other kids to play with. So I guess for some of the kids it is like being on holiday (and also people give them stuff, so it’s also like Christmas quite a lot, which is pretty remarkable, you must admit.)
It’s not a scary place, and these aren’t scary people. They are brave and beautiful people finding their way through, or discovering for the first time what it’s like to have a bit of peace.
I won’t sugar coat it. Things need doing around the place, and they’re getting done, bit by bit. But overall it’s somewhere you can find a cup of tea and a sit down quite enjoyable.
It’s not exactly Club Tropicana but it’s not Colditz either. So go ahead, become an Aunty and find a bit of joy where you thought there might be none.
Just like at a holiday camp.