Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Gone Girl

This week I’ve been reminded of a girl I once knew who was killed by her boyfriend, a girl who like Reeva Steenkamp was scared but believed she was safe?

Back in early 1980s I attended a night class in English literature, there I met a young woman called Jill who had recently joined the local police force. It was always fascinating to hear Jill talk about her police work especially the danger she encountered as a woman on a daily basis. I remember long discussions about how unsafe it was for police women to walk the beat alone at night and what an underbelly of hate crime against women there was even in the sleepiest of towns. Jill, I discovered was best friends with a girl I had known at secondary school called Joanne, I remembered Joanne as a lovely vibrant girl always funny, happy and full of life’s potential.

It was some way into our English course when Jill, who had been off ill for sometime returned to class with a tale which I’ve never been able to forget, a tale of violence, waste and sadness.

Jill had decided to take Joanne out to a pub, I think to celebrate her birthday, Joannes boyfriend who was known to be very possessive and jealous turned up at the pub and created a scene. Jill had taken a very shaken and upset Joanne back home to her flat and then had gone straight onto her police night shift. Within the hour Jill received a call back to Joannes flat regarding a disturbance. When she arrived there she found Joannes body stabbed to death, stuffed carelessly under the bed. Her boyfriend was found and reprimanded and sentenced for the crime, I not sure if he’s still in prison ,I can only hope so.

The shock and viciousness of the crime made local news at the time but has since been forgotten just another dead woman who died at the hands of a violent man.

With the world watching the very public case of Pistorius’s violence against Reeva and how the media is all about him, his feelings, his appearance, his future and not about the victim, the message is clear, women still don’t matter. This may be 2014, the age of perceived equality, but a women’s life can be extinguished with the smallest of ripples, leaving the perpetrators safe in the knowledge that the system will always look to support them, not us.

Today I,m thinking of all the Gone Girls.


We do NOT give permission for posts published as personal experiences to be reproduced, translated or otherwise published elsewhere. We will not contact people who submit their personal experiences on behalf of journalists, bloggers or other third sector organisations. These testimonies remain the intellectual copyright of their authors and must be treated with the ethical guidelines used by academics for research involving human subjects. Our full guidelines can be read here.

Comments are currently closed.

One thought on “Gone Girl

  • lynda sherlock says:

    though my ex doesn’t live with me anymore the same fear that he could be watching waiting to get back at me any time any where. i took him to court to get a non molestation under but couldn’t so he had to take an undertaking not to come near me for a year but that’s ran out. He’s denied everything to the police about me and my children; he’s a great manipulator to get others to believe him and hate me and make out i have lied about the abuse i suffer with from him. I guess because i had mental health difficulties and anger problems that i use to lose quickly when i was trying to assert myself didn’t really help me made others hate me more because of my anger and my frustration and the pain that i feel others have shown me by believing him and treating me really badly. I remember when i told social services they believed him more because a psychiatrist told everyone i lied so he could come back and abuse me more. For two and half years social service called me a liar and eventual they new i was telling the truth in a meeting, Now i guess because i have stood up to social services and the mental trust they still saying I’m not telling the truth. They refused me help and my children for two and a half years, the local council hid documents on a report lucky i had a copy nobody is being honest about how they’ve treated me and my children most agency’s hate me and i shunned everywhere i go for support. Most don’t want me to talk or stand up for myself most think i above myself. Sometimes i wish i hadn’t stood up for myself if you just get treated this way by others. The only thing that keeps me going is my children others sat in meetings where i was bullied and treated appallingly and often said to me where not aloud to say anything or do anything. Often i felt they just turned the back on me and couldn’t care less. I’ve been discriminated because i have mental health difficulties and not believed even though people saw bruises on my body and professionals have lied in meetings. I’ve been treated worse by so many human beings who work in the caring profession and people who are supposed to safeguard children. I ve bullied so badly because i stood up to a doctor that other doctor her work colleagues bullied while i was going through the complaints procedure labelling me and then refusing me care because of this label. I’ve been made to feel like a criminal because of not being believed and i feel like i am the most hated person in the world. All because of my ex husband who has abused and raped me and made others see only the good side of him me i was an angry women a emotional wreck when he left i thought i was safe when he was asked to leave was i so wrong the long hard struggle that i thought people believed me is still on going i never realised how much power he has had even now. i worry that he could come back anytime and rape me again because of the authorities not believing me. Often when i walk in town and see a mans back of his head my heart misses a beat and i’m scared inside that it could be him. The creak of the stairs the sound in your garden the phone going the knock on your door when you don’t know if someone is coming over to see you. The pain of fighting to be heard because your invisible again and again people listening but not hearing. You go to another town not far from your house to distress because things have been difficult and you end up fearing not trusting anyone so you become more alone more isolated just occasionally you wish he was back because at least your not alone how ever that sounds better than not being bullied and not being believed. i guess you put up with anything because you feel like your the most hated person in the world. I still feel so powerless about what he put me through looking back over the years i now know he never loved me at all you don’t rape and abuse a women and call it love i felt that he hated me so much and wanted to destroy me. He wanted everyone to hate me and now i know most people do. How ever i feel i am still ashamed of what he put me through and the guilt at times is unbearable but i have survived i am still here however the scars are prominent and it will take time if ever they will leave. I don’t love him and i have no respect him but forgiveness for me I’m not sure because of what he and others have put me through because of his actions. I hope that another women where i live will never go through what the mental health and social services have put me through the distress this has caused me and my children and the pain when others just turned the back on me and lied that hurts the most because i came for help and support and was denied so many times how much can a human being take from others who call it care. it’s not caring in unkind and cruel with how i have been treated and my children I’ve been made to feel i am a nothing a nobody and that’s all i am but i am me a women who’s been wronged no person women man or child should suffer from rape and abuse and denied the help and not believed that causes more pain suffering and just makes that person feel they are going through the trauma again. It also makes the perpetrator to access and abuse again and again in my case. So i don’t know if i will ever be free not knowing where someone is makes is more scary waiting for the next move. Wondering will i ever feel safe i felt safe when i had the court document and i was able to start college go out but though life goes on it will never be the same for me or others who have suffered with the same fate we just have to carry on and hope they will never come back to do the same thing again. I wish life we could feel safe on are streets in are home whatever but for some it’s ok to treat other human beings and destroy their lives in just one go by there own selfish needs and wants. I always say nobody’s is above the law but it’s hard to convict when there is no evidence and his word against mine and that is the sad thing in are society is ok to treat others and get away with it sometimes their is no justice and there it is sad but true.