I met with X today to discuss the potential of her being involved in this project. X is a hugely intelligent and articulate young woman, who I originally met through the Your Futures project. It has taken us many false starts to try and meet up, as X is literally going through hell due to custody and court issues with her ex. When I meet her on the Square, it is so she has some company when handing over her daughter for a two hour visit, after which we go and talk.
One of main, horrific, aspects about domestic violence that is not covered in the media or elsewhere, is that women with children have to maintain regular contact with their abuser. The impact of domestic violence on children in all senses is way too big to even start to touch upon in a blog , I/ we are not ignoring it, but for BCD we just want to talk about the women – to use X and H’s word’s, these awesome, beautiful, strong and amazing women who somehow have all their confidence, pride and beauty sucked out of them – yet in the case of all 3 of us find the inner strength from somewhere to break free.
When I look at H & X, I see incredibly strong survivors, creative, inspiring, and intelligent young women with a huge amount to give. How can that be reconciled with what they have been through – and how they are portrayed.
Lots of what X said to me that evening will stay with me a long time. As far as us co-creating an artwork for BCD, there are a few key starting points:
We need to create a safe place to meet and talk, without children or partners.
X talked about the women on the Phoenix project, how long it took them to open up, how they all appear normal outside, but ‘crying rivers of blood inside’
Things she did while with her ex ‘how did I become that small?’
Dancing to express herself – X would be happy to set up a camera to record her doing this
The importance of location for our artwork – although it could be sited in H or X’s flats, showing work referencing domestic violence in social housing just perpetuates another myth. We may look into the potential of siting the work in an affluent home, and discussed how we might identify someone willing to do this.