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  • Stories of Hope and Survival: Day Four

    Hello, my name is Rachel and I was a victim of domestic abuse.

    My story starts back in 1993 when I fell for Darren, he was charming and funny, with a dry sense of humour, he made me laugh. We soon became close and after a year I fell pregnant with our son. I already had a son from a previous relationship who was 2 years old when I met Darren.

    My abuse started when I was 7 months pregnant. We were having an argument, he lifted me off the floor by my throat. Darren could do this as he was 6ft 7in and 22 stone, he was massive. He trained in the gym 5 nights a week. He only released his grip when I turned blue. This shocked me and I wanted to finish with him, but once he fell to his knees and begged for forgiveness and cried like a baby I soon forgot and forgave him, until the next time.

    Yes, there were many more next times. As time went on and I got to know him more I realised he suffered with his mental health, and he was also brought up in an abusive home.

    I was controlled and suffered mental and physical abuse, which consisted of; many arguments, hot bowls of stew being thrown at me, my clothes being thrown out the bedroom window, doors being ripped off, sly punches to the back of the head, spitting in my face, and I think the worse was being spoken to in public like something he had just stepped in.  After years of this abuse, I decided to leave.

    I did leave him for a whole week and I felt liberated, but that soon changed as he bombard me with text messages and phone calls, bouquets of flowers and cards and not to forget the pleading and crying. He always promised he would change, but it never lasted much longer than a week or two.

    The older I got the less tolerant I became of his behaviour and abuse. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he slit his wrists in front our son Jack; this was after he strangled me. The date was Saturday 9th July 2011. I thought if he could slit his wrists in front of Jack what else was he capable of, and this scared me.

    I left and went to stay with a friend. I filed for divorce (which was something I never got as far as before) and I put the house up for sale. All of this shocked Darren, he then took a different tactic to try and woo me back because the pleading this time fell on deaf ears. He took an overdose, quite a big overdose, and was in hospital a few days. This time I knew that I was serious because I never reacted to this.

    During the next six weeks Darren appeared in Court for assault and was granted bail. My home was reinforced, I had a panic alarm installed, the Police arranged for my bedroom to be turned into a panic room. This was in case he broke his bail restrictions and came to the home.

    All this was not necessary though because he didn’t come to my home. On Friday 19th August 2011 he came to the hairdressers where I worked, armed with a shot gun. There was a battle in the salon, and he did shoot me. Thankfully I was mentally one step ahead, after he hit me on the head with the butt of the gun and I fell to the floor, I had the sense to pull my legs up onto my chest which took the shot!! He shot twice, the first one hitting me, the second skimming my ear.

    After the shooting when he put the gun down to reload, I grabbed the gun and held onto it because my life depended on it!! He couldn’t retrieve the gun, so he then proceeded to stamp on my head and rained me with punches of sheer muscle. Thankfully I didn’t lose consciousness and was aware when he had fled the shop.

    After a few hours, later in hospital I was told that Darren had committed suicide. Yes I was relieved, but it should not have even got to this point. I spent six weeks in hospital, I had a major operations on my leg, which was saved even though initially I was asked to have it amputated. I was finally discharged on 23rd September 2011.

    Our son Jack had distanced himself from my family as he wanted sympathy for his dad’s death which he couldn’t fully get from us, so he was staying at his paternal aunties house. Jack had disappeared; on Monday 26th September 2011, around tea time, I was told that he had taken his life.

    This was when my world fell apart. I could handle the shooting but losing my son, this was something else. Since this happened I have got stronger. My case is tragic; I never thought for one minute that leaving my abusive husband would result in me losing my precious son.  I want people to know abuse does not just affect the victim; it affects the whole family, children, parents and friends.

    I’ve removed the victim label and I now enjoy the peace and freedom I so wanted and deserved. I will not drink that bottle of poison called bitterness, because the only person it will affect is me.

    I have a new life that I embrace with both arms. I have a man by my side that is the most loving, kindest and supportive man I have ever met. We only get one go at life and we need to live it and not just exist in it. I have learnt not to become fearful of a new life; fear is something that we create.

    Become the Victor and not the Victim.

    Rachel, 2014

  • Welsh Women's Aid: A Day in the Life (Data Administrator, Rhiannon Maniatt)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    Data Administrator
    Rhiannon Maniatt

    My role includes developing and implementing organisational databases, collecting, collating and analysing data and producing reports.

    This time of the year, my days are full of data collation and analysis, and my role is vital to demonstrate the impact of our work and the importance of domestic abuse services across Wales.

    Once my morning of number crunching is done, it’s time to prepare this month’s newsletter, which people from all over the world read. I then monitor our website and social media accounts and with over 1000 likes on Facebook, and over 4000 followers on Twitter, it’s necessary that we respond to queries and let people know about the good work that is being carried out all over Wales.

    This afternoon, I’m reviewing our Children Matter training service through feedback received; we receive positive comments from professionals who attend our training, which really brings home the importance of our work and the value we provide.

    I guess if you don’t like working with numbers, reports or computers, my job must seem really boring.  Luckily, I am in my element, and love it! I see all of the statistics from our member groups, and all the ways that women have reported being affected by abuse. You can’t prepare yourself for the sheer amount of women who have been hurt or abused, just for being women. We need to do everything we can to end violence against women and girls, awareness and information needs to be highlighted and shared – The 16 Days Campaign can help to do just that.

  • Welsh Women's Aid: A Day in the Life (Policy Officer, Becky Jones)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    Policy Officer
    Becky Jones

    As Policy Officer for Welsh Women’s Aid, my role is wide-ranging and involves responding to government or public consultations that will have an effect on women and children experiencing domestic abuse and the specialist services that support survivors. I work with our member organisations to gather information and research subjects in order to provide evidence-based responses and briefings. These help inform government policy-making, and are used by local services, and organisations such as the Police, Health Services and Housing Services. Essentially, it is my job to help ensure Welsh Women’s Aid continues to be the lead organisation in Wales in terms of robust knowledge and information and ensure domestic abuse and its effects, continue to be high on the political agenda.

    Something that I am currently working on is to ensure that front-line services inform the development of the Welsh Government’s ‘Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill’ and making sure a gendered approach is recognised in the Bill, which is vital to ending violence and abuse.

    I am also gathering information on the impact of the Spare Room Subsidy (aka Bedroom Tax) on single women in multiple bedroom properties. It is not an option for refuges to turn women away if the room is too big, because this is emergency accommodation, and to force a woman to remain in the home could have potentially fatal consequences.

    The 16 Days of Action campaign is very important to me as it gives us the opportunity to highlight the work that we and our members do, what services are out there and highlight how everyone can get involved and learn about the part they can play in ending violence against women and girls.

  • Stories Of Hope And Survival Day Three

    You scream at me
    I start to shake
    I've seen that look before
    I've cooked your dinner
    The way you like it
    The house is clean and quiet
    What have I done to make you angry?
    Have I not tried to be good?
    I don't understand
    Please don't hit me
    I will try harder
    honestly I will
    please don't awhhhhhh.

    I love you
    I really do he shouts,
    But you just won’t listen
    If only you would do as I ask,
    I wouldn't have to give you such a clout
    To make you show some respect,
    To show you who is boss
    It’s only for your own good I get no pleasure from doing this.


    Get here now you stupid cow
    let me break your spirit
    so you will get too weak to ever leave me
    I will keep you from your friends and family so no one will ever see how I mistreat you get here now I tell you, you worthless piece of shit
    How I ever fancied you I will never know, no one else will ever look at you so be grateful that I stay
    For tomorrow I will change the rules I made today

     

    Molly-2014
    [Name has been changed to protect identity

  • Welsh Women's Aid: A Day in the Life (Day Two: PA to the CEO Emma Harris)

    Welsh Women’s Aid: A Day in the Life
    PA/Executive Support Officer
    Emma Harris

    A large part of my role revolves around our CEO’s schedule and work priorities, and supporting our Board of Trustees so that they can effectively govern the charity. I coordinate meetings, organise diaries and ensure our CEO is fully prepared for each meeting or event she attends. I also support Senior Managers and coordinate the day-to-day running of our head office, regularly liaising with managers in our regional offices to keep on top of any issues and ensure the smooth running of the organisation.

    My working day starts with dealing with emails and calls that have come in, which range from dealing with phone systems being upgraded, to confirming our CEO’s attendance at a conference and organising her visits to local services. 90% of my job is about being organised, communicating well internally and with other organisations, and staying on top of all tasks. 

    We have a Trustee Board meeting coming up, so I take the opportunity to get feedback from all managers on their actions following the last meeting, using a tracking spreadsheet, which is really useful for keeping everything on track, and gives the managers and Trustees an overview of tasks completed and outstanding -I love spreadsheets! In between working on different tasks – like fixing office equipment, getting value for money from our suppliers and sourcing quotes for printing materials - I keep an eye on emails and calls as they come in for our CEO, if she is out at meetings or visits, and coordinate her Outlook calendar.

    Back office functions may not be glamourous but are vital in ensuring Welsh Women’s Aid operates efficiently, and allows my colleagues to carry out their roles working to help survivors, service users and our members.

    The 16 Days campaign is a great way of engaging with the public, and I always find it truly inspiring to attend events where survivors of violence against women and girls are able to speak out and tell their stories.

See All News

Contrary to theories of domestic violence that portray battered women as helpless, most women surviving in abusive relationships leave many times and routinely act in conscious ways to try to minimize the abuse directed at them and to protect their children.

 

Research shows that women are victims in 95% of domestic violence cases. To the extent women do use violence, it is generally in self-defense. Reports of violence against men are often exaggerated because abusers will accuse their partners of using violence as a way to avoid or minimize their own responsibility. In addition, men who do experience domestic violence have more access to resources to leave violent situations than do women.

 

Myth a Realiti

Mae llawer o bethau mae pobl yn eu dweud am gam-drin yn y cartref yn anghywir. Mae mythau’n esgus da i bobl sy’n cam-drin beidio â chymryd cyfrifoldeb dros eu hymddygiad. Does dim esgus dros gam-drin yn y cartref... ...

"Fe ddigwyddodd unwaith yn unig, mae’n ddrwg iawn ganddo ac ni fydd yn digwydd eto"

Pan fydd dyn yn dechrau cam-drin mae yn debygol o ddigwydd eto. Prin fod cam-drin yn un digwyddiad ar ei ben ei hun. Fel arfer mae’n rhan o batrwm o ymddygiad rheolaethol sy’n gwaethygu gydag amser.

Ymddygiad rheolaethol yw pethau fel dweud wrth berson beth i’w wisgo, pwy i’w gweld, bod yn feddiannol ac yn genfigennus iawn, a thanseilio hunanhyder a hunan-barch person arall yn barhaol. Mae’r rheolwr yn defnyddio trais neu’n bygwth trais i gael ei ffordd ei hun.

Mae dynion yn aml yn dweud ei fod yn flin ganddynt ar ôl digwyddiadau o gam-drin, maen nhw’n addo ac yn dweud na fyddant yn ei wneud eto. Yn aml, mae menywod sydd wedi gadael y cartref yn dychwelyd i bartneriaid sy’n cam-drin o ganlyniad i’r addewidion hyn. Efallai bydd cyfnod pan ymddengys nad yw’r dyn yn cam-drin trwy fod yn ymorol, yn ddymunol ac yn gymwynasgar. Fodd bynnag, bydd y rhan fwyaf o bobl sy’n cam-drin yn cam-drin eto, a bydd y cyfnod hwn o fod yn neis yn newid yn sydyn i’r hen batrwm o ymddygiad rheolaethol.

"Mae pobl yn cam-drin eu partneriaid o ganlyniad i ddiweithdra, cyffuriau, alcohol, profiadau plentyndod ayyb"

Mae cam-drin yn y cartref yn digwydd beth bynnag fo’ch incwm, ffordd o fyw, rhyw, hil, dosbarth, oedran, crefydd, rhywioldeb a gallu meddyliol neu gorfforol. Nid yw ffactorau megis diweithdra, alcohol a dibyniaeth ar gyffuriau ac ati yn achosi cam-drin yn y cartref ond yn cyfrannu at gythruddo’r cam-drin.

Does dim esgus dros drais a cham-drin yn y cartref.

"Mae cam-drin yn y cartref yn digwydd mewn cymunedau penodol yn unig; fel arfer mewn teuluoedd dosbarth gweithiol, Asiaidd neu ddu ac mae’r rhan fwyaf o gam-drin yn y cartref yn digwydd ar stadau cyngor."

Mae cam-drin yn y cartref yn digwydd o fewn pob cymuned: pob dosbarth, hil a diwylliant. Nid yw’n fwy cyffredin mewn un gymuned na’r llall.

Does dim person nodweddiadol sy’n cam-drin a does dim menyw nodweddiadol sy’n cael ei cham-drin. Gall cam-drin yn y cartref effeithio ar unrhyw un.

Mae Cymorth i Fenywod wedi cefnogi menywod lle’r oedd eu partneriaid yn adeiladwyr, yn weithwyr cymdeithasol, yn gyfreithwyr, yn athrawon, yn seiciatryddion, yn wleidyddion, yn yrwyr bws, yn blymwyr, yn y lluoedd arfog, yn drydanwyr, yn beirianwyr, yn weithwyr ffatri, yn feddygon, yn heddweision, yn weision sifil....ystod eang o swyddi.

Does gan y rhan fwyaf o fenywod a ddaw i Gymorth i Fenywod ddim problemau eraill yn eu bywydau ar wahân i’r rhai a achosir gan drais a cham-drin eu partner.

"Dim trais yw hwn, dim ond dadlau."

Yn aml, mae trais mynych yn mynd law yn llaw â cham-drin emosiynol a bygythiadau. Er bod rhai menywod efallai’n ceisio amddiffyn eu hunain drwy wrthsefyll yn gorfforol yn ystod ymosodiad, ni ddylid ystyried bod hyn yn golygu fod y trais mae’n ei brofi’n "ymladd ar y ddwy ochr".

"Ni all ddynion treisgar reoli eu hunain, rhaid eu bod yn sâl yn feddyliol."

Mae’r rhan fwyaf o ddynion treisgar ac ymosodol yn gallu rheoli eu hunain i beidio â tharo na cham-drin eu partneriaid yn gyhoeddus neu o flaen eraill nac achosi anafiadau mewn mannau y gellir eu gweld.

Mae’r rhan fwyaf o ddynion treisgar yn cam-drin eu partneriaid a’u plant ond neb arall.

Mae’r rhan fwyaf o ddynion sy’n cam-drin yn gallu gweithredu heb drais mewn cymdeithas, yn y gweithle ac mewn cyswllt ag eraill.

Rydym oll yn gyfrifol dros ein hymddygiad ein hunain. I lawer o bobl, mae’n haws credu’r myth fod pobl sy’n cam-drin yn sâl yn feddyliol yn hytrach na derbyn eu bod yn gwybod yn union yr hyn maen nhw’n ei wneud pan fyddant yn cam-drin, treisio neu arteithio eu partneriaid neu eu plant. Mae pobl sy’n cam-drin yn gyfrifol am eu gweithredoedd eu hunain ac mae ymddwyn mewn ffyrdd ymosodol neu droi at drais yn fwriadol.

"Mae menywod yn dewis y math yma o ddyn"

Nid yw menywod yn ymwybodol os yw dyn yn dreisgar neu beidio wrth ddechrau cyfeillachu ag ef, does dim arwyddion. Mae profiadau’r rhan fwyaf o fenywod yn dangos bod dynion, ar ddechrau perthynas, yn ymorol, yn gariadus ac yn ofalgar iawn.

"Dim ond ambell i ffrae fach deuluol ydyw, mae pawb yn dadlau."

Y gwahaniaeth rhwng dadlau achlysurol a cham-drin yn y cartref yw bod cam-drin yn y cartref yn ymddygiad bwriadol a ddefnyddir gan y person sy’n cam-drin i reoli a dominyddu’r person arall.

Defnyddir ystod o ymddygiadau rheolaethol  gwahanol mewn perthnasau ymosodol. Maen nhw’n cynnwys amddifadu rhywun o gwsg, beirniadu eu golwg, dweud wrthyn nhw beth i’w wisgo neu ble i fynd, rheoli gyda phwy maen nhw’n gyfeillgar neu wrthod gadael iddynt gysylltu â’u teulu, eu rhoi dan glo, eu bygwth gyda thrais, eu taro, eu treisio’n rhywiol neu eu harteithio.

"Mae menywod yn cael mwynhad, pleser neu foddhad o’u profiadau cam-drin yn y cartref"

Mae profiadau menywod yn dangos nad yw hyn yn wir o gwbl. Mae cam-drin yn y cartref yn codi ofn arnynt ac yn cymryd rheolaeth oddi wrth fenywod. Does neb am fyw mewn ofn.

"Mae’n rhaid ei bod yn cael rhywbeth ohono, neu byddai wedi gadael."

Mae llawer o resymau pam fod menyw’n aros mewn perthynas dreisgar ond does dim un ohonynt yn ymwneud â chael rhywbeth o’r trais a’r ymosodiadau.

Yn aml, mae menyw yn rhy ofnus i adael, efallai bod ei phartner wedi bygwth ei lladd hi, y plant neu’r anifeiliaid anwes. Efallai ei fod hyd yn oed wedi bygwth lladd ei hun os bydd hi’n ei adael. Mae ymchwil yn dangos bod y rhan fwyaf o lofruddiaethau yn y cartref yn digwydd yn ystod y cyfnod gadael neu ar ôl gadael a phan fydd menyw mewn perthynas arall.

Efallai bod y fenyw’n poeni am symud ei phlant neu’n gorfod eu gadael neu y byddant yn mynd i gartrefi gofal os daw pobl i wybod am y cam-drin.

Mae llawer o fenywod yn rhoi’r bai arnyn nhw eu hunain am y cam-drin gan feddwl mai arnyn nhw mae’r bai. Efallai nad yw’r hyder ganddynt i adael neu efallai eu bod yn teimlo cywilydd neu’n euog am adael i’r person eu cam-drin nhw a’u plant.

Mae llawer o fenywod yn dal i beidio â bod yn ymwybodol o’r help a’r gefnogaeth sydd ar gael gan asiantaethau megis Cymorth i Fenywod a’r Heddlu.

Yn aml bydd pobl sy’n cam-drin yn cadw arian o’u partneriaid ac felly bydd dim arian gan y fenyw i ddianc.

Efallai bod y camdriniwr wedi atal cyswllt gyda theulu a ffrindiau’r fenyw felly mewn argyfwng, nid yw’n teimlo bod ganddi unman i’w droi.

Mae cam-drin emosiynol yn aml yn achosi i fenyw deimlo’n wan, efallai ei bod yn teimlo nad yw’n ddigon cryf i adael, a /neu’n ddigon cryf i oroesi ar ei phen ei hun ar ôl gadael. Efallai ei bod yn poeni am ddod o hyd i rywle i fyw neu gael arian i fyw.

Yn aml, bydd cam-drin emosiynol yn achosi i fenyw deimlo’n ddi-werth, efallai ei bod yn credu’r celwyddau mae’r person sy’n ei cham-drin wedi’u dweud wrthi ac yn credu na fydd unrhyw un arall yn ei hoffi nac yn deall na chredu ei bod yn cael ei cham-drin.

Mae llawer o fenywod yn dal i fod ynghlwm yn emosiynol wrth eu partneriaid er gwaetha’r cam-drin. Nid yw hyn yn golygu eu bod yn mwynhau’r trais ond efallai eu bod yn credu y bydd eu partner yn newid neu eu bod yn gallu atal y trais a bydd y berthynas yn llwyddo.

Nid oes llawer o fenywod yn sylweddoli mor gyffredin yw trais a cham-drin yn y cartref, maen nhw’n credu mai nhw yw’r unig un sy’n eu dioddef.

Mae rhai neu bob un o’r rhesymau hyn yn arwain at lawer o fenywod yn credu nad oes modd dianc rhag y berthynas dreisgar ac y byddai’n well iddynt aros gyda’u partner a dioddef y digwyddiadau o gam-drin yn y cartref. Mae menywod yn ymdopi drwy ddod o hyd i ffyrdd o dawelu eu partneriaid treisgar drwy fod yn arbennig o sensitif i’w hwyliau ymddygiad ef. Mae hyn yn helpu i leihau’r trais ond nid yw’n para’n hir achos bydd y person sy’n cam-drin bob amser yn dod o hyd i rywbeth sy’n ei ‘gythruddo’ er mwyn iddo gyfiawnhau’r cam-drin a’r trais yn erbyn y fenyw neu ei blant.

Efallai bod rhai menywod yn ofalwyr dros aelod hen neu anabl o’r teulu (er enghraifft menywod Asiaidd sy’n gofalu am rieni hŷn mewn rhwydwaith teulu estynedig). Byddai dianc y trais yn golygu gadael pobl sy’n dibynnu arnynt i ofalu amdanynt eu hunain ac efallai’r risg o drais gan y partner.

Os ydych chi’n dioddef cam-drin yn y cartref ac mae angen help a gwybodaeth arnoch ynghylch eich opsiynau, cysylltwch â grŵp Cymorth i Fenywod nawr.

"Ni ddylem ymyrryd, mater preifat ydyw."

Nid yw cam-drin unigolyn yn fater preifat. Mae 25% o’r troseddau treisgar yr adroddir amdanynt yn ddigwyddiadau cam-drin yn y cartref. Ni adroddir am y rhan fwyaf o ddigwyddiadau cam-drin yn y cartref.

Mae cam-drin yn y cartref yn drosedd, ni allwn barhau i’w anwybyddu.

"Nid yw’n cael ei cham-drin go iawn, mae’n ei ddefnyddio fel esgus i symud cartref."

Mae menywod fel arfer yn lleihau effaith eu profiadau o drais a cham-drin yn hytrach na’u gorliwio.

Nid oes llawer o fenywod yn cael eu symud i gartref arall yn gyflym. Mae’n bosib y bydd yn rhaid iddynt dreulio misoedd mewn lloches neu lety gwely a brecwast cyn iddynt gael rhywle i fyw.

"Mae’n rhaid bod pobl sy’n dreisgar tuag at eu partneriaid yn dod o deuluoedd treisgar."

Mae llawer o bobl sy’n dreisgar tuag at eu partneriaid yn dod o deuluoedd lle nad oes unrhyw hanes o drais. Mae gan lawer o bobl sy’n cam-drin frodyr a chwiorydd nad ydynt yn dreisgar nac yn cam-drin.  Does dim person nodweddiadol sy’n cam-drin.

O fewn llawer o deuluoedd lle cafwyd trais, mae unigolion yn dewis peidio â bod yn dreisgar.

"Dim dynion yn unig sy’n dreisgar, mae llwyth o fenywod treisgar hefyd"

Dengys ystadegau bod 97% o’r digwyddiadau cam-drin a thrais yn y cartref a adroddir amdanynt yn cael eu cyflawni gan ddynion yn erbyn menywod.

Fodd bynnag, gall cam-drin yn y cartref ddigwydd mewn perthynas o’r un rhyw a gall aelodau o’r teulu estynedig ei gyflawni. Mewn nifer bach iawn o achosion (3%) y bobl sy’n cyflawni’r cam-drin hwn yw menywod.

Cred Cymorth i Fenywod Cymru bod cam-drin yn y cartref yn digwydd o ganlyniad i anghydraddoldeb parhaus rhwng dynion a menywod mewn cymdeithas. Felly, mae cymdeithas yn dueddol o gydoddef gweithredoedd ymosodol gan ddynion yn y tymor hir a chaiff bechgyn eu magu i dybio rheolaeth dros fenywod ym mhob maes gwaith, yn y cartref ac mewn perthnasau.