Jennifer Gilmour will be sharing her experience of being in a controlling relationship, aiming to raise awareness and empower women during her talk this Friday at Showroom Cinema.
As an award-winning advocate for women’s rights and an author of two publications she aims to shed light on the subject that often goes unseen during her participation in the festival.
The mother-of-three from Hull said: “My journey has certainly not been easy and I still face challenges every day, whether it is trying to build awareness and not being heard because it is all word of mouth or dealing with the person who abused me. I understand that when deciding to take this route I left open a door to my abuser but I could not let this stop me from helping others- it does not mean it makes it easy for me at times.
“Thankfully I have learnt how to balance life and with the help and support of others, I am able to focus on the rewarding side to being an advocate. I am passionate about standing up for the changes that need to be made and the awareness their needs to be.
“The help I have given others has been my most rewarding achievement. I could not have imagined my life and where it is now years ago and I am thankful I have taken the steps I have taken with the support of my husband, family and friends.”
Her Abuse Talk Forum have earned her a UK European Social Media Marketing award in 2019 for developing a Twitter chat into an online safe space for survivors to share their experiences in the forum.
One of her books, Isolation Junction, was her debut novel that she thought of while on a 14-week recovery programme for survivors of domestic abuse, through which she aimed to share her knowledge in an entertaining but informative way, teaching her readers how to recognise signs of emotional abuse.
She said: “I had endured several years of coercive control and at the time there was no UK law in place for my situation to be criminalised.
“I did thankfully have the support of the local GP, a family support worker and a local domestic abuse organisation. I went on a fourteen-week recovery programme to take steps forward in my life after abuse but what I realised is that we were all being educated on what we had experienced, this knowledge would be useful to those who are dating.
“Isolation Junction was difficult to write but it offered some times of therapy, it’s based on true events of my own and other women.”
Her other book, Clipped Wings, is a collection of 24 female and one male survivors’ journeys towards emancipation that she produced after receiving responses from people who wanted to have their voices heard.
She said: “They are raw but important and cover a wide spectrum of the different forms of abuse. I enjoyed this project and was glad to be able to give those individuals the opportunity to share.”
Jennifer also advised anyone dating to take a look at Duluth Wheels online to find out whether their relationship is healthy. To those young women who are only starting to experience romantic relationships, she said: “Do not rush into a relationship but enjoy dating and learning about one another. Read up about healthy and unhealthy relationships and discover what you would like from a relationship.
“Although it would be difficult for my younger self to comprehend all this, I am now able to allow self-development to take hold and reflect on myself as a person. Life experience speaks volumes and can educate more than textbooks to gain a true understanding.”
The 10-day, not-for-profit ‘feminist fringe festival’ aims to not only celebrate the International Women’s Day, but also organise a range of inclusive events across South Yorkshire while promoting the viral #EachForEqual on social media.
Tickets for the event and more information can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/253057318990870/
Speaking to ShefNews, she also stated that she is currently working on a children’s book that discusses healthy relationships, and anyone interested can contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org