Domestic violence survivor launches help programme
A woman who left a violent relationship is now offering help to others to rebuild their lives.
Sandy Marshall could find little support in the months after her marriage to an abusive alcoholic ended.
Although she could find resources for people trying to exit abusive relationships, she says there was nothing to deal with the emotional and practical fallout that can continue for years after such relationships have ended.
Now she is launching a website and programme to help domestic violence survivors to move on and overcome their feelings of guilt, loss, lack of confidence and fear for the future.
Marshall who lives in Carnforth, in Cumbria, England said: “What I found was there was nothing out there which promotes skills and techniques for coping with it all.
“My situation was not as bad as others but where do you get the motivation, the confidence back? The abuser controlled them, they are now free to do want they want but that can be difficult, there is a lot of negative emotions.”
Marshall said some programmes require attendance for two hours per week for 12 weeks, and that working women and those with families find this commitment hard to keep, particularly if they are now a single parent.
A trainer and coach herself, Marshall is setting up a social enterprise scheme that will run two-day events at weekends, followed by six one-hour counselling sessions to help enable survivors to get on with their lives.
The programme is called The Key and a website will be launched this Wednesday, July 4. It will be delivered by a group of professionals with experience in this field.
Profits of the social enterprise will go back into running workshops with children who have lived with domestic violence.
This is a cause close to Marshall’s heart, borne from experience.
“I got married at 17 to the love of my life but divorced after he had an affair. Then I met what I thought was my knight in shining armour. He was really nice to me – when he was not drinking.”
But as the drinking continued so the violence started to spiral out of control.
“About seven years ago he beat me up, and we split up, but our daughter wanted her parents to be together so I had him back.”
Sometimes he would disappear on drinking sprees only to return drunk and full of anger. The last straw came when he returned home and punched his daughter in the face in front of Marshall and his own mother.
“My daughter had been on the doorstep and I dragged her back in. My daughter is 23 now but she is still in pieces about it.”
This got Marshall thinking about providing help for children who have witnessed or suffered abuse.
Marshall said for a long time she hadn’t realised that she was in a domestic violence situation, and always thought she was somehow to blame because of something that she had said. She said one of the key areas of the programme would be memory resolution.
“There is a great big sack of negative emotions, there is a grief process to go through. I am in the training and coaching business but sometimes I didn’t have the energy to deal with everything and I had more tools than most.
“The Key programme will help deal with the guilt and get people to have new beliefs and progress with their lives.”
Marshall can be contacted (from Wednesday) via www.the-key.org.uk or email Sandy@saatraining.com.