Brighton and Hove councillor inspires others after speaking about her own experience of domestic abuse
A councillor’s speech about her experience of domestic violence has inspired women to break free from abusive relationships, she said.
Newly elected Amanda Grimshaw received a standing ovation after she spoke out in a debate about helping people leaving abusive relationships to find a new home.
After news stories about her speech, the twice divorced Labour councillor – a single mother of four – had emails to her council account from women thanking her for speaking out.
She said: “One of them said she was still in a very similar situation and wanted to talk to somebody.
“I thought it was really great it is encouraging people to talk about their situation and act on it and remove themselves from a situation.
“It’s a really positive outcome from the story.”
Councillor Grimshaw told fellow members of Brighton and Hove City Council that her second husband locked her out of the house when she was seven months pregnant with her fourth child.
She was with her older three children and had nothing but the clothes she was wearing.
She did not go back but was given an emergency “bed and breakfast” place and then a one-bedroom flat. Her older children stayed with their grandmother.
Another woman contacted Councillor Grimshaw just to talk about what happened to her with someone who understood.
Councillor Grimshaw said: “It was a case of allowing herself to talk to someone who understands.
“Unless you’ve been through it, you don’t really get it.
“Also when you have children you’re trapped. You might be suffering yourself but, all the time you can put up with it, it keeps some sense of normality because the alternative is losing your house (and) your children losing a parent.”
As well as the two women who saw publicity about her speech, a fellow councillor shared their experience after being moved by what was said.
The chief executive of domestic abuse charity Rise, Jo Gough, described speaking out as a “rich part of our history we encourage and support”.
The charity supports victims of domestic abuse and violence and has a questionnaire on its website to help people establish if they are a victim.
She said: “I have also spoken to Amanda recently regarding her speech.
“Given that domestic abuse affects one in four women, it’s not surprising that she has heard from others.”
Anyone concerned that they may be a victim of domestic abuse can see the questionnaire by visiting www.riseuk.org.uk/get-help/first-steps/am-i-being-abused.
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