Having completed a groundbreaking art project with Lighthouse Women’s Aid – The Washing Line Project – we were then asked for assistance with a Writing Project.
Two of our members, Anne & Pat, both members of a U3A Creative Writing Group as well as being Soroptimists, were asked to lead the project among some of the abused women Lighthouse were helping. ‘Women Write’ commenced, a series of 7 two hour sessions, aiming to release feelings through words.
The women who worked on this project put their trust in us (having never met us before), believed us when we said ‘If you can talk, you can write’ – and they did, to our amazement and admiration! We talked, cried, supported each other and wrote.
We soon felt their stories should be read by every woman, especially those entering a new relationship, in a violent or abusive relationship, and those who want these vicious practices to end. The idea of a book was born and its title ‘Every Six Seconds’ was inspired by one of the writings.
For most, their writing reveals a journey from despair to hope and it makes for moving reading. All the writers feel they have benefitted from participating in the book – one contributor has enrolled on a degree course in English Literature; another is studying GCSE English.
Legal and General funded the first print run and forewords were written by Jo Brand and Sally Dynevor (Sally Webster in Coronation Street).
We are delighted that this project won the SIGBI Programme Award 2012 in the programme area of Violence and Conflict Resolution.
Recognizing dominant behaviour for what it is can save women from a life of misery, pain and even death. Do you have a teenage grandchild just starting relationships, or a friend who you suspect is being abused? If so, a copy of this book, ‘Every Six Seconds’ can be obtained from Lighthouse Women’s Aid or contact us.
We later ran a further Creative Writing Course for women with links to Lighthouse Women’s Aid earlier which again produced some excellent writing and we have completed a 2nd level course with 5 of the women who have participated in the first level courses. This focused more on writing fiction and the do’s and don’ts of creative writing. Over the course of 6 weeks we saw a real improvement in their writing skills and an increase in confidence and self-esteem.