Paid Leave a Rare Moment of Empowerment
A woman who lived through an abusive relationship writes anonymously for The Guardian, and says New Zealand’s latest domestic violence legislation is a relief from shame and fear.
“The years of control, manipulation, blame, gaslighting, pity play, devaluing and relentless mental abuse created a person that I no longer recognised when I looked in the mirror,” the writer explains.
“I was hanging on to my job [in the health sector] by the skin of my teeth … My profession is one of the most important things in my life and my ability to provide for my children and myself is essential. However, because of my inability to be stable and well during this horrible time, I took much time off. Even now, months down the track, there are things that happen at work that are unexpected triggers.
“If I am unable to continue in my work, I have no choice but to take leave to keep myself and my patients safe. This has left me bereft of any kind of leave at all. And of course if I can’t be at work I simply don’t get paid. I am incredibly lucky to have unwavering support from my employers but they can do only so much within the law when it comes to leave.
“This is why I am a great proponent of the newly passed domestic violence – victims’ protection bill. With this there will be provision for a framework that allows for more job security, less intimidation around disclosure, and the ability to attend to children and get to women’s refuge meetings, court appearances and victim support meetings. It also provides the opportunity to attend therapy sessions and care for matters such as mental health without the risk of losing your job, which could be the one safe and stable thing in someone’s life.
“There is a lot of shame and fear for victims of domestic violence and they are vulnerable and disadvantaged. So empowering them in any way at all is winning in my book.”
Original article by Anonymous, The Guardian, July 31, 2018.
Photo by Bruce Lipsky.