Writer, Director, and Mother in Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Hi, I’m Andrea and I started Safe Girl back in 2011. I’m also a mother of four gorgeous girls (my babies). I’m not paranoid about security, but I am totally concerned about their safety, just as any normal mum would be. When I launched Safe Girl I mainly had them in mind, but I also saw it as a way to help other girls to be safe, and young women too. A bit like a safety surrogate mum, if you like! Then something else happened. The very same month I started Safe Girl, I entered into a new and what turned out to be a highly abusive domestic relationship. Some 18 months later, having suffered both physical and emotional abuse, I finally escaped and pretty much straight away, jumped into a second, even more abusive relationship. Finally, another two years on, I began a very personal journey of my own. This meant rediscovering myself: exploring why I was attracted to abusive, disordered individuals, why I put up with so much abuse, without understanding what was going on for so long, despite all the physical blows and emotional torment. I learned so much about myself. I also learned a lot about the covert tactics of abuse, how it isn’t like you think it is, how the victim lies to protect her abuser. After the initial abusive relationship, I launched a blog, www.theeternalvictim.com to detail my experiences and to warn others. I was obsessed with informing people of why these abusers feel they can treat us this way, and what was wrong with them.
I later realised it doesn't matter why. What matters more is why we put up with it. Low self-esteem keeping us in 'victim mode'.
I want to empower as many women as possible to be in control and to help them see the danger signs. Once we have the knowledge and the tools to make better decisions, and know ourselves more, we are better equipped to be safe and strong, physically and mentally. It’s powerful stuff. Through experience, I can now recognise the red flags a lot sooner and have the strength to walk away. That’s why I now speak up for those affected by domestic abuse, as well as campaign for street safety and stand up for rape and attack victims.
No more Eternal Victim blog, I have launched www.teenesteem.co.uk, building self-esteem in teens, so they can feel empowered and not have to endure bullying or bad relationships.
The Safe Girl message - to keep all girls and women safe, inside and outside the home - is more important to me than ever in light of this experience.