#DeserveToBeHeard is a campaign aiming to highlight the devastating impact of domestic abuse on the mental health of women and their children. Through the campaign, we will ensure that the mental health needs of women, who are all too often not listened to and not believed, are heard and responded to effectively. Our research shows that almost half of women living in refuges have reported feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts as a direct result of the domestic abuse they have experienced. But we know that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg, as stigma and fear around disclosing mental health problems prevent many women from speaking up.
We believe all women have the right to access the support that they need to heal and rebuild their lives. But in reality, fewer than 1 in 5 refuges have trained mental health support workers and women face huge barriers in attempting to access support. From long waiting times, victim-blaming and communication barriers, to the stigmatisation of mental health, and a lack of trauma-informed responses and services – support is failing survivors.
We created this platform as an empowering space for women to creatively share their own experiences, in the format they choose. A space to speak out and be heard. All the women involved in the creation of the content you see here are survivors of domestic abuse. In this space, we will listen to their powerful stories of suffering but also of their strength and hope for the future.
We know that women experiencing multiple forms of oppression, due to their race, sexuality, disability and other factors, face even greater barriers to being heard and accessing effective support. Many of the women who have shared their experiences here are part of marginalised and minoritised groups.
All survivors deserve to be heard. We must #HearHer to change perceptions and attitudes towards survivors’ mental health. Will you make the pledge, and say ‘I #HearHer’?
We need you to share your pledge to encourage the government to #HearHer too – to secure funding and enable specialist women’s services, including by and for, to deliver vital mental health support and long-term healing. Click here to share your pledge.
Help us amplify the voices of survivors so they get the support they need. Join us, by signing up to become a #DeserveToBeHeard campaigner today – until all survivors have the mental health support that they deserve.
We are extremely grateful to all the brave and powerful women who have shared their stories here, and to the specialist services that work every day to offer them support. Together we will continue to amplify their voices, until all survivors are heard and receive the support that they need to thrive.
If you are a survivor of domestic abuse and want to speak out and tell your story, click here for more information on opportunities to campaign with Women’s Aid.
We want to recognise the work of our #DeserveToBeHeard Survivor Advisory Board – many of whom have shared their voice on this platform. Their lived experience and expertise have helped ensure the campaign centres and meets the needs of survivors. For more details, visit the Women’s Aid website.
We also want to recognise and celebrate the expertise of our sister organisations, who have shared their insight to ensure that #DeserveToBeHeard centres the voices of the most marginalised survivors, and responds to their needs. This includes Women’s Aid members, Imkaan as our co-facilitators of the Survivor Advisory Board, and members of our Expert Advisory Group for the campaign: