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Ava Kanyeredzi (PhD Candidate) London Metropolitan University

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1 Ava Kanyeredzi (PhD Candidate) London Metropolitan University

2  African and Caribbean heritage women’s help seeking and the impact of violence on their relationship to their bodies.  16 Participants; 6 experts, 9 victim-survivors.  Personal photos of the past to talk about violence.  Drew diagrams of their help seeking pathways.  Edited maps of how they feel about their bodies.  Took photos of objects, places and spaces.

3  Liz Kelly (1988).  Range of behaviours carried out mostly by men towards women.  Sexualised slurs, name-calling, touching, fondling, rape.  Occurs to the same woman over her lifetime.  Occurs to different women at different times.  Impact shared across forms; sense of threat of violence.

4  I have been told that I am ugly, useless, worthless.  I have been called names that I dislike.  I have been slapped, punched, kicked, pushed, beaten, threatened.  I have feared for my safety/life and the safety/life of my family or my child/children.  I have been raped, pressured or forced to have sex.  I have been pressured or forced to touch someone in a sexual way.  My health or feeling of wellbeing has been affected by my experiences.

5 (Tamara) I feel like what it means to me is I feel is a pathology, I know that might sound really funny, but that’s what it means to me is just being a minority and I mean like, for example at a meeting or something, I often have a lot of heads around me are white and I’m probably gonna be the only one there that’s black and then it feels like I’m a minority. I like being black, I like difference and I like having my heritage, that is different from everybody else’s, I like it yeh. (Ava) would you say then that it’s more of a feeling you get when you’re in particular environments? Is it just in general when you leave your house, or is it just in specific environments? (Tamara) I think in professional environments, I feel different in professional environments. When I‘m out, I don’t feel anything really, but I enjoy being different.

6 (Tracy) I don’t think people really wanted to believe it and that was down to the fact that, I am sorry to say, but when it comes to black people, they don’t really want to appreciate that things can happen really bad in any of their communities and just as white…like in any other community and they don’t really like…because I remember one time, someone said to me ‘black people don’t do those things’ you know that’s what they said to me ‘so we don’t do those kind of things’ …Since I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed that there are many women who have suffered experiences and the same thing as well and some of it worse (giggles nervously) I’ve had it quite easy compared to what they’ve been through, but they don’t want to talk about it, some people, you know ‘no it’s not black people, it only happens to white people’ (…) that sort of thing…

7 (Tracy) … God has made me the way I am, I hope in some ways, if I’m going to choose to define myself as a black woman, I would define (...) I hope that when I do so, it is erm, it is to encourage, it is to encourage other black women out there that have suffered my experiences, other victims of abuse and trauma, they feel to themselves that, they have to fit a certain role and they think to themselves that there is nobody really out there (…) they feel to themselves (…) they think to themselves they have to hide because of the culture, because cultures can oppress, not just the white culture, that applies to black culture, because there’s so much [sic] expectations and so many things and so forth…

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9 (Tracy)…Well I was brought up in a family that was totally different, damaged, removed from God. It was a single parent, my mum, it was her partner, they had another two children and err, my mother wasn’t err, she didn’t have the best upbringing in life, so to speak of, because when she was three years old her mother left her and came over here to work and so she was living with her grandmother and then her grandmother died and she didn’t have a good experience. She didn’t err (…) to cut a long story short, she had a lot of issues, she can’t (...) she hasn’t been able to read and write and err, she’s had a lot of issues in her life. So she had me when she was nineteen, she came over here in [year] she had me in [year] and there wasn’t a very good (...) there wasn’t (giggle) (...) it wasn’t a completely good circumstance either, it was more like she was taken advantage of by someone older, much older sort of thing (giggles) (...) happens (...) you know it was consensual, but anyway, so she had me…

10 (Tracy)…I feel that I have supported her and I’ve spoken to some agencies and so forth and my grandmother who has got more experience of relationships, she gave her some counselling, because she obviously had her own experiences of abuse back in [year] when her boyfriend, a former boyfriend of hers. I think he hit her, then he started to kick her and she said once he started to kick her, I think he kicked her a few times, she said ‘I just left him, I just packed my bags and left’ and she has been on her own ever since. She hasn’t had a partner since…

11  Lived experiences should be contextualised to women’s social locations (Hill Collins, 1998; hooks, 2000; Reynolds, 2005).  Black women subject to everyday racism, marginalisation as well as sexual violence (Davis, 2000).  Differences and similarities between women are complex and multi- faceted, forms can be visible or hidden when seeking help for violence (Crenshaw, 1991; 2012).

12 Lived Experiences Historical, systematic rape Family stories of survival after violence Own stories of sexual violence or IPV Everyday racism Victim of crime Policing of sexuality Cultural Constructions Unrapeable Hypersexual Strong Aggressive Single mother Head of pathological household

13 [Photo of herself as a child, photo of a Bible] (Tamara) … I was looking at myself, seeing myself as an adult, looking at myself as a child thinking, I can’t believe someone would do anything like that to me and then I thought oh I was probably looking much older as you kinda do and I thought I would use that picture because it (…) it’s what that person was seeing, what I’m seeing now, a child. A child. So it’s kind of like (…) I thought, it’s kind of weird actually thinking that that person was seeing the same thing that I’m seeing now. (Ava) and is there anything, just thinking along those lines, is there anything, in terms of how you see yourself, do you then see that person differently, that you’d seen them before? (Tamara) yep, yep (crying) yeh I do (crying). It just made me think like, how could a person do that to me, when I look at this picture (crying)? (Ava) Do you want me to stop the tape for a little bit? (Tamara) no (crying) but yeh, I picked that one and the other one is a Bible, it’s just kind of erm (crying) it shows the church (crying) because he was in the church as well (crying) and everybody used to like him. He was in the church so (sobs) I was in the church as well so it just reminds me (crying) of that bit of my life so that bit of my life that goes around in my head sometimes, that’s why I chose the Bible to take a picture.…

14 (Jacinta)…and when I’m watching it [African film], some of it really gets to me, because of what they are showing, the topic in the film and sometimes I have to turn it off, or forward it, or rewind it and then I’m always thinking, why do people make these films? They must have made them for a reason. So when I’m not sleeping because the neighbours are like making noise like every night, so I turn my TV up really loud (?) so I can watch it. If I hear it all around me, then I’m okay and I enjoy it, it relaxes me and all that so that’s when I’m getting all the noise in the middle of the night, or at two o’clock in the night or four o’clock in the morning, once I start to watch this, I feel a little bit together again, yeah…

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16 (Tracy)…I’m still working on how I feel inside, because (…) I’m okay with the physical aspects, I’m learning to love the outside of my body, but the inside needs erm (…) the inside’s got all its parts intact, just like…just like here (points to the photo) (…) I mean everything here is intact, it’s got (…) I mean I’ve been to some places before and they had you know (…) they hadn’t got a radiator, they haven’t got (…) they haven’t got all the parts together, but here all the parts are together, it’s just that you need to put some (…)...it’s just that you need to decorate it (Ava) mm (Tracy) so I’ve got in my body, I’ve got all my parts together (….) and you know I’ve got health. But I need to…I need to in some ways erm (……..) I need to some ways erm…paint…I need to paint over (….) all the erm (….) what can I say [?] all the (…) I need to (…..) here [photo] I need to decorate (…….) and I would say with my body decorate over the (…) old parts (…) all the parts (…) decorate it (…) and I would say the same thing with my body as well (…) my body as well (…) I need to (…) I need to (….) there are some parts (…) you know (…) I need to erm decorate, I need to erm revamp (…) the inside (…) I need to revamp inside, just as I need to revamp inside of the flat because, all the memories from the previous occupier are there (Ava) mm (Tracy) erm the nicotine on the walls, which is a lot (laughs) are all there, so I need to personalise it [the flat], just as I need to personalise (…) just as I need to erm personalise it (…) I need to make it into my own, I need to (….) take away all the things that I don’t like, don’t want that are nothing to do with me, that are not representative of me that have nothing to do with my body…

17 (Deborah) I think the colours, the redness and there’s a green in it as well it just portrays something, that you can’t see with the naked eye, but you have to delve down inside you to get the whole picture (Ava) and so what does it (...) how does it make you feel? (Deborah) It was oh, when I saw it I said wow that is a lovely picture, so I take it, it makes me feel happy, it gives me something (...) I’ve never seen something like that before, it’s more interesting, it’s more mm (...) (Ava) and how do you think (...) do you think it says anything about (...) kind of your life now? (Deborah) Well the brightness I think, the brightness shining through life yes, yes and that light…

18 Lived Experiences Historical, systematic rape Family stories of survival after violence Own stories of sexual violence or IPV Everyday racism Victim of crime Policing of sexuality Cultural Constructions Unrapeable Hypersexual Strong Aggressive Single mother Head of pathological household


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