CHRISTMAS is a time of joy for most people, but it’s the most terrifying time of the year for people who are trapped in abusive and violent relationships, an event held in Waterford has heard.
Almost 100 people attended ‘Learning from the Legacy of Loss’, which took place at Carrickphierish Library as part of the international campaign ‘16 Days of Action Opposing Violence Against Women’.
Guest speakers at the event, which was organised by the Waterford Local Area Network Opposing Violence Against Women, included Priscilla Grainger, the founder of the Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland (SDVI) group which is campaigning for domestic violence to be made a criminal offence.
In a moving account of her own personal story, Priscilla told how she thought she was in a perfectly normal and happy relationship “with the man I loved” … until he beat her senseless on the second night of their honeymoon.
like waiting for a grenade to go off every year
She suffered horrific physical, emotional and financial abuse for more than a decade. The beatings even continued when she was pregnant.
Priscilla said Christmas is the “worst time of year” for victims of domestic violence, and SDVII has reported a surge in calls over the past fortnight from desperate women and men seeking their help.
“Christmas brings it all back. I remember it was like waiting for a grenade to go off every year. They’d [abusers] rob, they’d steal, they’d take Santa’s bits and pieces, whatever they need.”
For more information, or if you are affected by domestic violence or abuse, you can contact:
- Oasis House Women’s Refuge: 051 370367
Lo Call Number: 1890 264 364
- Waterford Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre
051 873 362 / 24-Hour Freephone Helpline: 1800 296 296
- Waterford Women’s Centre
051 35 1918
- The Samaritans
- 24-Hour Helpline – 1850 60 90 90
- Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland (SDVII): Founder Priscilla Grainger
Phone: 086 869 7022 or 087 212 4896