Why the World needs Jennifer Gilmour’s Domestic Violence Survivors’ Anthology…
I was so very honoured to be asked to be a part of author Jennifer Gilmour’s ‘Clipped Wings’ blog tour.
Jennifer is no stranger to writing about the subject of domestic violence, and just a few months ago, our paths ‘just happened’ to cross since we had both launched books touching on the subject (from very different angles, but raising self-awareness all the same). I’m so very glad to have got to know this wonderful lady via social media! Her story is nothing short of extraordinary and yet she hasn’t stopped helping others who have left or are considering fleeing dangerous situations in their homes – whether they be physical, emotional, or both.
Rather Jennifer’s work continues daily. Her countless interviews, radio and television appearances accurately portray a brave and committed soul whose vision for change has improved countless lives. She’s a true beacon of light to others. As indeed, are those who have also been courageous enough to bare their souls to create this book.
To pen ‘Isolation Junction’, her first novel, was one thing. But to then go on to compile an anthology, working with domestic violence survivors both female and male, from all walks of life and backgrounds; that was quite another. An emotional roller coaster in every sense of the word.
Jennifer’s books are quite literally changing the domestic landscape of the UK, and her latest release, ‘Clipped Wings’ is no exception.
I am delighted to share my review of the book today and urge you all to support this amazing project by buying a copy (Amazon buying link can be found below):
‘Clipped Wings’ is a powerful piece of work. As traumatic as it is to read some of the stories featured within it, it’s an anthology that every adult (and young adult) should be acquainted with. When we read a collection of stories of this magnitude and scale; stories emanating from people of different cultures and religions, different social backgrounds and beliefs, different sexes, we realise that domestic violence still goes on behind all closed doors. D.V does not discriminate, you see:
“… in her eyes it was banter…
Preventing me from seeing family or friends
Preventing me from working
Destroying my self-confidence
Constantly accusing me of cheating, lying, and being deceitful
Constantly putting me down and telling me that I’m stupid and that my mum didn’t rbing me up properly as I’m an idiot.”
You could have an ornate brass knocker and a shiny British racing green front door. Just as likely, your door could be rusting at the hinges with peeling paintwork.
‘Clipped Wings’ does much to dispel the myth that money and education are an exception to abuse…
Jennifer’s own personal story at the beginning of the book, is proof alone that domestic violence creeps into a relationship in a variety of ways. It’s not just the stereotypical hitting, punching and name calling we might see in the movies. In the author’s own personal account, she explains how her finances were restricted, her freedom of movement outside of the home, too. This gas-lighting and manipulation starts off subtly… and gradually, through the many stories woven into this anthology, we see it wear the abused down… until they are no longer sure of themselves, until they have lost all self-belief and confidence. Particularly disturbing are the examples of domestic violence involving children. Yet, they are a crucial part of the puzzle when it comes to painting an accurate picture as to what is truly going on in many homes throughout the land.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
If that was true I wouldn’t have a story to share with you,” says Emma.
And then she goes on to explain… “and I certainly wouldn’t be the woman I am today, but my strength and resilience didn’t come easily. I’ve been in some dark places mentally and emotionally and had to claw my way back more than once. All because of the hurt and long-term damage caused by the words and behaviours of a man who ‘loved’ me, the blame I carried and self-loathing I felt, as a result.”
Many of the stories in this book also highlight a change once the victim becomes pregnant, and here we see the way the abuser uses their physical strength to their advantage – because of course, a pregnant woman has that innate responsibility to protect their child. And then we see how the dynamics change once again once the baby is born. Liberty becomes further restricted, dependency on the perpetrator increases. It’s a vicious circle. But it’s a vicious circle we need to hear about.
What’s to say this isn’t going on with one of your own family members, with one of your own friends?
Once we know which alarm bells to listen out for, which signs to be aware of, we can offer help, we can be there as a support network. We may never be able to persuade anybody to leave straightaway, true. But often, and especially in the case of some of the stories in this book which began their cycle of destruction during the teenage years, just knowing that a relationship is unhealthy, that alone is enough to plant the seed of eventual escape into the victim’s mind. Way too many young people simply don’t know the difference between a good and a bad relationship. Way too many young people are led to believe that the mood swings and volatility of their partner are their own doing, that they’ve wound them up to the point of no return and the ‘punishment’ is just.
This is exactly why ‘Clipped Wings’ should be non-negotiable reading material in high schools and colleges throughout the UK and the wider world. I know from my own experience, this was the very book I wish had been made available to me as a self-conscious teen. It would have completely changed the path my life took.
That is how important this book is.
To order a copy of Clipped Wings, here is the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2gVBCSO
About the author:
Born in the North East, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.
From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write this first novel ‘Isolation Junction’. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.
Since the publication of her debut novel Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.
Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that ’Clipped Wings’ gives a voice to survivors’ experiences and raises awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.