Doncaster Women's Aid faces closure after losing its funding after 40 years in the South Yorkshire town. Emma, a survivor of domestic violence, will be joining a protest in the town tomorrow, Saturday, against the closure. She told Socialist Worker that the service saved her life - and that women will be in greater danger if it goes.
"Doncaster Women's Aid helped me to escape my abuser - a horrible, violent rapist. It helped to educate me about what my rights were and what abuse is. Without Doncaster Women's Aid I probably wouldn't be here today.
"When you're in a violent relationship, it's terrifying. You get suffocated. You might be having your finances controlled, or being isolated from your family members.
"For some women, the level of control the abuser has over them makes it very difficult to get out.
"I was forcibly medicated. He posed as my carer, and nearly got me sectioned. He had a key to my house and he would go in when I wasn't there and move things. He would leave the door unlocked and then say, "Look - you left the door open. You don't know what you're doing."
"I don't trust the police to help and I never will. They haven't got a good record on helping victims of domestic abuse. I got called a drama queen by one officer. One said to me, "You type of women like a bit of attention, don't you?"
"I had a small card with details about Women's Aid on it. I hid it in my purse and eventually I built up the courage to call. I told them I was so frightened and I remember the first thing they said to me was, "I believe you."
"To hear someone say that they believed me gave me courage straight away and lifted me so much.
"But if Women's Aid closes there's not going to be anyone on the other end of the phone to give women that kind of support.
"My fear is that women in the future will have nowhere to go. They will either live with long term abuse, be killed by their abuser or kill themselves to escape it. We have got to save this service."
For more on the campaign in Doncaster see next week's Socialist Worker