To me, the opening scenes are very familiar, rolling hills, sheep in fields, peaceful rural locations and ‘sleepy’ towns.
The voice-over begins, “in the countryside everything’s lovely, tranquil – life is good – that’s always how it’s depicted – in fact behind closed doors it can be a completely different story, even in the nicest villages;” and so the initial idyllic mood of video begins to change, and adopts a much darker tone.
Of course I knew the subject matter of this DVD before pressing play, but I still found it quite chilling to hear the stories as they were narrated with familiar Scottish Borders dialects over local scenery that has been my home for over thirty years. The video may only last ten minutes, but so much has been packed into that short space of time.
‘Hear Our Voice’ relates the experiences of four women in the Scottish Borders who have survived domestic abuse. In their own words, they describe the stigma, the shame, the barriers to getting help, and their journeys to recovery.
I found the presentation to be particularly effective, highlighting the fact that we may all see the same scenery, but we certainly don’t all see it through the same eyes. With some harrowing abusive experiences in their lives, the peace and calm of the Scottish Borders can present a bleak and threatening prospect for some. This video aims to give professionals and the wider community clear messages about what can be done to help, support and protect those in our communities who are experiencing domestic abuse and I believe that it achieves this very effectively.
It seeks to answer a number of key questions;
- Why did I stay?
- Who’s to blame?
- How did you leave?
- Who helped?
- What should change?
Sensitively filmed and produced by mediaco-op in collaboration with The Scottish Government, SB Safer Communities Partnership and Scottish Borders Council, the DVD includes a very comprehensive thirty four page PDF document that gives advice on how to prepare potential audiences, along with myth-busting facts, useful contacts and much more.
Whilst the package was principally produced with a slant on domestic abuse in the rural Scottish Borders, I can imagine that it may be equally useful in more urban areas – it is just as easy to feel isolated and alone in the centre of a large city.
The absolutely unacceptable scourge of domestic abuse must be tackled head on; the ‘ostrich’ approach of seeking to avoid acknowledging it does nobody any favours, least of all a victim who may be in desperate need of urgent support – and may be a very close neighbour.
I would certainly encourage anybody working to try to support domestic abuse victims and attempting to find ways to rid society of this blight, to explore the possibility of incorporating this excellent resource into their arsenals.
If you would like further information about this excellent DVD please contact the Scottish Borders Council Safer Communities Team:
or by phone (44)01835 824000