Disbelief: A project led by Jane Bethall of LIAP – now Safer Leeds Domestic Violence Team. Produced by VeraMedia.
These three clips are taken from ‘Disbelief’, a video co-produced with a group of disabled women who had experienced abuse. The group enabled women to share their experiences and offered peer-support towards recovery. The project was led by Jane Bethall of Leeds Inter-Agency project (now Safer Leeds Domestic Violence Team) and produced by VeraMedia Leeds.
Each clip details a woman’s experience of abuse, which can be used as a resource in training.
The video was made in 2002. They all predate the Care Act 2014 and the statutory duty on local authorities to make safeguarding enquiries. There are also some references that are out of date, for example, to the Disability Discrimination Act. However, unfortunately, these clips are still very relevant.
Video 1: Frances
Frances discusses her experience as a disabled women who experienced coercive control from her partner, who abused and exploited her. Frances worked in an Advocacy organisation for people with learning disabilities. Gaining knowledge of the social model of disability was important for Frances as it enabled her to understand that many of the things that made her life hard were not her fault and that she is not worth less than other people. Also viewable online via Adobe Connect
Video 2: Sharda
Sharda describes coercive control within an extended family with which her husband was complicit. She experienced mental health issues as a result. Attending an Asian Women’s group provided her the support to deal with this. Sharda was scared to talk on the video for fear of the disgrace it could bring to herself and the family. It took courage for her to take part in this project. Also viewable online via Adobe Connect
Video 3: Barbara
Barbara experienced sexual abuse and coercive control from another resident while living in a residential home for people with physical impairments. It is less likely that people with the mental capacity to be independent such as Barbara and the perpetrator of abuse against her would be living in care homes today but at the time this was their long-term home and Barbara’s experience had much in common with any other woman experiencing domestic abuse. Barbara courageously gave evidence against the perpetrator in court. Also viewable online via Adobe Connect
Video: Evan Stark: Coercive control
Evan Stark has been an activist in the domestic abuse movement and is a professor at Rutgers University. He is noted for his expertise in health issues and in legal aspects of domestic violence. His book, ‘Coercive Control’, argues for an expanded view of domestic violence to include the crime of coercive control, which he asserts is a very common and pernicious form of domestic violence. This has influenced the development of the Serious Crime Act’s offence of controlling and coercive behaviour in the UK.