Choose to Challenge: Derbyshire WISH

Today is International Women’s Day. This year we are being asked to Choose to Challenge. To help forge a gender equal world and take action for equality.

Across the world people are standing with their hand held high to say ‘I’m in!’

Janet, Domestic Abuse Manager at Derbyshire WISH explains why this year’s theme is so important and why it is more important than ever before to call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world:

This International Women’s Day I want to celebrate the amazing women I have the honour (privilege) to call ‘My Team’.

Incredible women who have gone above, beyond and then just that little bit further every day; choosing to challenge the restrictions placed in front of them by the global pandemic; choosing to challenge the inequality of domestic abuse; choosing to support adults and children to find safety, to move forward, to rebuild their lives …

In the past 12 months these incredible women have supported the opening of a new refuge service, to provide even more spaces for those forced to flee their homes. In a world locked down, they have found new ways to ensure those in the community and in need of our support remain connected, and are able to put safety measures in place.

I also want to celebrate the inspirational women who have taken the brave step to reach out for support. One such inspirational woman recently shared these words with me, in the hope it will help others:

“I trusted you from our first conversation and you did all this during two COVID-19 lockdowns. I trusted your advice and you kept me safe … But you did so much more. You understood, you totally ‘got it’. People who don’t ‘get it’ say “simply leave”, you did not say this. You gave me the skills to recognise my own self-worth … because of you, I am at the end of my journey, I am free. I am strong. I am a good person. I’ve found my self-worth.”

Reading this made me cry, made me swell with pride at what my team have achieved. But this is just one story, there are many, many more. Each one the story of a courageous individual / family.

This is the reason we need to continue to ‘Choose to Challenge’ – to challenge the gender inequality that reinforces and perpetuates domestic abuse, the inequality that allows it to happen. We need to support more women to find their freedom and make choices for themselves.

This next year our service will continue to grow as we begin working on a new project with young people to help break the cycle of domestic abuse. We will support young people at risk of using controlling behaviors, helping them to make positive choices, to choose healthy, equal relationships ... To Choose to Challenge!

Derbyshire WISH offer community based and refuge accommodation and support to men, women and children experiencing domestic. They work across Erewash, parts of Amber Valley, Derby Dales and South Derbyshire.

Visit our Domestic Abuse pages to find out more about the services we offer.

Further reading: Donna at Umuada explains why we need to celebrate this year more than ever


Image credit: pikisuperstar for freepik