the woman who brought her friend to the drop-in today who told me of the other friends she'd lost to domestic violence and the immigration system. women who'd been unable to escape their husbands, dependent on them in order to remain in the uk. prevented from working and/or from claiming benefits. no protection. "I've been there myself and i have to help her because many of my colleagues have been in the same situation. i lost some of them."
as a supporter you have to stay with what you're being told and get the support&information done, swallow the tide of anger and panic, that peculiar panic that comes from letting yourself actually think of catch-22s and kafkaesque situations, real traps, systemic traps, racist traps. then you have to remember to pause later to face and tug out what you've absorbed. sometimes i don't want to, but one purpose of this blog is to debrief and to explore healthy ways of being a supporter, finding out how to process people's everyday horrors.
the cases that i can't handle are these, where women are trapped between the control, violence and entitlement of their partner and the control, violence and entitlement of the state. i'm tired tonight. analysis some other time.