"All the children who came to my refuge are close to my heart..."



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Here are some very early images of when I first started up the refuge in Chiswick.


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Margaret Hofman was my first voluntary administrator when I opened the first refuge at 2 Belmont Terrace in Chiswick in 1971. She is thanked in 'Scream Quietly or the Neighbours will Hear' which was the first book in the world on domestic violence. Hank, her husband, was a special man in my life. He came into that tiny derelict house and did all sorts of odd jobs for us. When I have needed his help he was always there. Before he died in October 2007 he gave me a mug for my tea and I drink from it every morning. He was an exceptionally kind and loving man. The world is a sadder place without him. This gallery picture is a memorial to him.


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These pictures in the "Chiswick" gallery were taken by Christine Voge©. She contacted me a year ago and sent me her pictures that she took in the refuge in 1978. We are doing a book together called 'Suffer Little Children.' All the children who came to my refuge are close to my heart. So much is written quite rightly about the suffering of women in violent relationships but very little about children and almost nothing about men. At least men and women have a choice. My parents were both violent and dysfunctional but it was my mother who beat me and rejected me and I know both personally and professionally how damaging that violence can be to a young child's emotional and physical development. Violence in the home can pass down from one generation to another. It is a learned pattern of behaviour probably even pre-birth when the baby in the womb. A woman shares her cigarettes with her unborn baby. She shares her drinks and she also shares the chemicals of fear and rage. Truly many of these children that you see can be described as "marinated in violence". We need to be aware to we all need to fight for a child's right to be born into a peaceful and loving family.'