Brave revelation from parliamentary candidate brings domestic abuse into open

An election candidate made a brave revelation that she is a victim of rape during a hustings on female issues organised by the Darlington and Durham Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre.

Liberal Democrat candidate Anne-Marie Curry told the large gathering at Darlington Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall that it took her 22-years to accept she had been in an abusive relationship during her early 20s.

She described how she had witnessed some awful treatment of women during her upbringing in Uganda and that she had been threatened with knives when she later lived in Holland.

She said: “I seem to have opened myself up to rather destructive relationships from then on.

“At the age of 21 I was in a relationship and he was emotionally bullying me, hitting me and raping me.

“I didn’t realise that at the time, I only realised that in my 40s.”

Ms Curry’s revelation earned a round of applause and she said she wanted to speak out to bring the issue of domestic violence into the open.

She said:

“I can understand that women in that situation can find it really, really difficult to cope with what has happened to them.

“I am now coping, I am strong and I really want to shout about it because it (domestic abuse) is wrong.

 “These relationships need to stop and the only way we can do it is to be more open about it, talk about it, and allow young people through the education system to know that they shouldn’t let anybody harm them.”

Labour candidate Jenny Chapman said she was “blown away” and felt humbled by what Ms Curry had shared.

The hustings, chaired by Durham University professor Nicole Westmarland, touched on a range of female issues including funding problems experienced by rape crisis and support centres and whether more should be done to educate youngsters about domestic abuse.

The problems experienced by many victims of domestic abuse throughout the legal process were also highlighted, with all candidates agreeing that more needed to be done to support them.

All candidates also agreed that abuse and crimes against women were a key issue and Ms Chapman said that Labour planned to scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and would appoint a Women’s Commissioner in parliament.

 She said this would ensure there was person “with some clout” to ensure that women’s issues did not get sidelined.

The hustings was attended by Darlington’s candidates for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Green, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties who all signed a pledge to support women’s services.

UKIP candidate Dave Hodgson could not attend due to work commitments.

> Could he, given his party’s record, have signed it with a clear conscience anyway ?

Source – Northern Echo, 02 May 2015

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