News, Impact & Stories International Women's Day 2021 Ruth's Interview for International Women's Day! What made you want to work supporting victims of DA? I first started working at CTWR as agency staff and one of my roles was to go to the children’s department at CTWR whilst one of the staff was on maternity leave. Once that maternity leave came to an end I moved on for a little while, then came back for another slot as agency staff and then a job role came up and I knew this was what I wanted to do so I applied for the job and that’s basically how it started. From the Children’s Department I quickly realised that in order to work with children you need to work with the whole family, it’s not just working with the children its working with the Mum’s as well (I say Mum’s because that’s who is in the refuge that we support). Then a job role came up with the outreach team at CTWR and I went for it and was lucky enough to get that job and it’s just gone from there! I’m extremely passionate about changing people’s ideologies and typologies around domestic abuse (when I say typologies I mean victim typologies). Domestic abuse can affect anyone at any time in their life – that’s why I got into it. What personal qualities do you think you need to do this job? You need to be empathetic, non-judgemental and have an open mind – it’s not even a ‘need to be’ in my opinion. It’s not something you are taught, it’s something that you feel. It’s about you as a human being able to talk to people and listen whilst not judging them on anything they say to you. You also need to not being easily shocked sometimes as well. Who is your role model? I have lots of friends that are role models who are strong feminist independent women who want to make changes to the world. It’s a bit of a big ask!! I’ve got friends and we often talk about what difference does it make if we try to do a small amount, but we always come back to the point about having to start somewhere and if we don’t start with the small things how can we make a difference to the bigger things? My role models are strong independent female friends. What is the most inspiring thing you have seen with someone you have been supporting? Gosh, there is a lot of them! There was a woman once who I was supporting in court, it was criminal court and the perpetrator had been charged with a number of offences. We were in court on the day and the crown prosecution came over and said that he had decided to enter into a plea bargain which was that he would plead guilty to some of the offences but not all of them. The prosecution came to my client and asked her what she would like to do and they gave her a couple of minutes to think about it. She looked at me and said “what do you think I should do?” and the bottom line is I said to her this is your choice, if he gets found not guilty then he is not guilty of everything and you might not get any protective orders. However, if you go with the plea bargain, he will get something, and justice will be served, and you may get that protective order on top of that. In no way was I trying to convince her either way of what she should do because the choices are always down to our clients. She just looked at me and said “there is absolutely no way I’m taking this plea bargain, he did this and I’m not going to pretend he didn’t do it. He did do it, I’m going to get up in that stand and tell them exactly what he did” – and that’s exactly what she did! I was in awe of her of how brave she was to actually do that. I was really proud of her and inspired by the fact that she had the guts and felt strong enough to be able to go forward with it. He was found guilty of both and it was a really good day in court, I was incredible proud of her. There are many inspirational stories that I could tell you about women that I have worked with. What would you say to your best friend if they were experiencing DA? I would say “what do you want to tell me, all you’ve got to do is talk to me and I will listen”. It’s more about making sure you’re listening as oppose to digging and delving and asking questions which can be really traumatising and embarrassing. If it was my best friend I would just say “tell me what’s happening, what’s been going on and how can I help?”.