I was referred by Womens Aid to the Freedom Programme where I attended the twelve week programme in the company of other survivors of abuse and three facilitators.
I wasn’t at all sure what to expect but the programme gently led us through many of the characteristics of abuse. Over the weeks as we became more comfortable with each other we opened up and we learnt from each other’s stories.
My initial fear was that as a survivor of emotional abuse my situation may pale into incomparision alongside others but I needn’t have worried. We were all from different backgrounds and different ages and we had had different experieces but we all had a common ground and an empathy.
I believe that the accompanying book for the programme should be widely read by all women, if only to understand how and why it is so hard to leave an abusive relationship.
Pat Craven hits the nail on the head with the clear message in this book and which is reinforced through the delivery of the programme. Victims/survivors of domestic abuse are not to blame for the actions taken against them, and with this understanding and knowledge they can begin to rebuild their self confidence and their lives again.
The programme is also available as an on-line course. If your relationship is anything less than perfect then I encourage you to purchase the book and read about the methods and tactics employed by a Dominator
I cannot speak highly enough about this programme. As described on its website-
The Freedom Programme is a domestic violence programme which was created by Pat Craven and evolved from her work with perpetrators of domestic violence.
The Programme was primarily designed for women as victims of domestic violence, since research shows that in the vast majority of cases of serious abuse are male on female. However, the programme, when provided as an intensive two day course, is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of domestic abuse themselves.
The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help them to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, instead of the whole experience just feeling like a horrible mess.
The Freedom Programme also describes in detail how children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and very importantly how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed.
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