Bring and share supper for Dorset Women’s Refuge

A BRING and share supper will be held in Lyme Regis on Wednesday, May 29 to raise funds for the Dorset Women’s Refuge. 

The event will be held at The Hub in Church Street, with doors opening at 7pm, and all are welcome to bring their own dish and enjoy a social evening, where you cal also hear about the serves provided by Dorset Women’s Refuge and Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND).

The evening will include entertaining speakers, food and information about the work undertaken, how to access these services plus information on how you can get involved and help these organisations. There is no obligation to sign up to anything.

The Dorset Women’s refuge is also currently seeking donations of items for the women and children staying in the refuge to use. Donations of the following items would be welcome on the night:

  • New towels 
  • Throws and cushions for a sofa
  • New single quilts
  • Toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, flannels, deodorant and shower gel
  • Fresh fruit, vegetables  and groceries
  • Toys for older children to play with, like handheld game consoles (not phones)

Domestic abuse does happen in West Dorset. It’s a crime that can manifest in many forms; these include coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence), psychological and/or emotional abuse, physical or sexual abuse, financial abuse, harassment or stalking and online or digital abuse too.

A Dorset woman, who experienced five of the above from her abusive ex-husband, shares her experiences: “The fear that pulsed through my veins when he started on me, was blood curdling. I couldn’t predict when a situation was coming on, until I was knee deep in his twisted manipulation and when things kicked off, all my clear thinking and planning went out the window.

“My physical and mental energy was so depleted, I’d often fix my gaze on a spot on the wall and go into a catatonic state where hours would pass but it felt like five minutes.

“The sexual abuse was soul destroying and he did a great job to normalise his vile, belittling behaviour, so much so I just couldn’t tell anyone, not even my best friend.

“When the panic attacks kicked in, nobody could pull me out of them – they’d literally paralyse me and I had to take 40mg of propanalol, or wait until pure exhaustion knocked me out.

“It took years for me to get brave enough to leave him and it was only after I physically left my house and found a safe space where I could breathe again, that I was able to see what a cowardly, selfish bully he really was. I used to say I was a victim of domestic abuse, but now I’m a survivor and it’s taken a long time and a lot of help to reach this point. 

“The support services we have in West Dorset, were a total life saver for me but I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to find them. I wish there had been more signposting services to help me. Thankfully, it’s a lot better than it was a few years ago but when you’re up to your ears in it, it can actually be quite hard to even identify yourself as someone who is suffering DV. 

“We are incredibly lucky to have access to a women’s refuge in West Dorset and most people don’t realise this but it’s not funded by the government, like all the refuges in the UK, it relies on fundraisers to keep these safe sanctuaries open. 

“This bring and share supper is a brilliant idea. It’s going to pull together a great community of women on the very edge of West Dorset and it’ll introduce them to the support network that helps countless thousands of women and children in crisis.

“There are lots of ways the public can spread the word about the refuge and the support services, but it’s no good if they don’t know they exist. Please put this date in your diary and come along to find out how you can be a vital piece of conduit to help other women.”

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 1473 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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