An inspirational woman from Eastwood who battled years of domestic violence is now helping other victims recover from traumatic abuse.
Sarah Griffin, 36, suffered at the hands of two partners and even ended up in hospital after one violent attack.
But she has transformed her life to such an extent that she is a role model, delivering courses, through the Broxtowe Women’s Project, which are aimed at giving other local women the confidence and skills to rebuild their lives.
“I was 19 when I found myself within a domestic violence relationship,” said Sarah, who is a fully trained mechanic.
“And a few years later, I found myself back in that familiar position, but this time, I was a victim of emotional abuse.
“My partner would tell me what to wear and would even put my outfits out on the bed for me every morning.
“I thought at the time that this was just his way. But I stopped seeing my family and friends, and it wasn’t until I confided in a friend that I had the ‘lightbulb’ moment that this wasn’t right.
“She put me in touch with the Broxtowe Women’s Project and, from there, my life really started to change.”
Funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, the non-profit organisation provides a confidential helpline, outreach service, training courses and drop-in sessions for women who have suffered domestic abuse.
Sarah continued: “I found that women involved with the project were keen to learn the life skills needed to have an independent life after leaving their perpetrators.
“So I began running classes on topics such as preparing your car for winter, rewiring a plug and even dealing with emotions brought on by Christmas and its strain on finances.”
These practical workshops, run by Sarah, were hugely appreciated by the group, whose training and awareness officer, Chris Harris, said: “I first met Sarah when she was taking part in our Freedom Project.
“This teaches the victims of domestic abuse about their perpetrators and the tactics they use. The sessions are very emotional and, for many ladies, it can be the first time they realise the full extent of what has happened to them.
“The only way many of theme survive is to shut down what is going on around them.”
The Broxtowe Women’s Project has just carried out a six-month domestic abuse project in Eastwood, and is in the process of rolling out a similar one in Stapleford.
It will be launched on Saturday, November 24 at the Sewing Belle shop in the town, where there will be free taster craft sessions and also activities for children. Money raised will help to fund more of Sarah’s workshops.
Chris added: “We found that the owner of the shop had heard about our fantastic work in Eastwood and wanted to help. Shop owners will adorn their windows with white ribbons, stitched with our helpline number for ladies who feel they need some support.”
It was the number once called by a desperate Sarah Griffin. Now look at her.
SARAH Griffin and the Broxtowe Women’s Project have been praised by a Nottingham-based forensic psychologist who is a respected expert in cases of domestic violence.
Dr Ruth Tully says Sarah’s story demonstrates that there can be light at the end of the tunnel for victims, and she urges them to seek support from friends or relatives and not to suffer in silence.
To those friends and relatives, she said: “If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic abuse, ensure you approach them at a safe time when they might be able to open up to you. Offer to go for a walk or to see them somewhere away from the suspected perpetrator.
“It is important you make sensitive efforts to show that you are there for them when they might be ready to talk. But think carefully about the advice and support you might offer. This is a complex matter and abuse can take hold of a person’s life.”