December 23, 2019
Many of us see the festive period as a chance to eat, drink and be merry with our favourite people. But for thousands, it will only offer an escalation of what they must endure all year round: domestic violence and abuse. I know because from the age of 17 to 20 I lived with an emotionally and physically abusive partner and I dreaded Christmas.When I first met Connor*, he was everything I was looking for in a mate: strong, funny, intelligent and charming. He showered me with affection and attention, which was flattering at first but later suffocating. He also had a jealous temper, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced before or since. We were in a relationship for a year before he became violent but, in that year, he began to manipulate and control every aspect of my life in ways that were almost imperceptible at the time.Related... Donations To Women's Refuges Double In Wake Of Election Result More Than A Third Of Women Have Unwillingly Been Choked, Gagged Or Spat On During Sex Child Poverty Is Not Inevitable. Here’s How We Make It A Thing Of The Past We lived together and shared a bank account but I kept “losing” my debit card, so Connor persuaded me it would be easier for him to give me a weekly cash allowance. He would subtly belittle me in front of his friends, picking on my insecurities and reinforcing every negative thought I ever had about myself. He poisoned me against my family (who quickly realised he was not a great guy) causing an estrangement that would take years to heal. When my friends invited me out, he would guilt me into staying home. After months of rejection, friends stopped inviting me out altogether and I became more and more reliant on Connor.As this was my first serious relationship, I had no frame of reference, no idea that his behaviour was troubling. I didn’t realise abuse could take place without violence. The media depiction of partner abuse still focuses on violence because it’s attention-grabbing, but I will never forget the way Connor gently eroded my confidence, my personality and my self-worth.The first act of violence happened at Christmas. I’d decided to go to my office Christmas party on a whim and after a few drinks was having the most fun I’d experienced in months. When I got home, I discovered I was locked out. I battered at the door for Connor to let me in, but when he opened the door, I saw his face twisted into a shape I didn’t recognise. I knew immediately that he was going to hurt me. A flash of rage saw me thrown down a flight of stairs, followed by a weeping apology and assurance this would never happen again.But it did.We lived together peacefully for months at a time then, as soon as he’d drank too much or had a hard day, the violent rage would return. I tried to leave, called shelters and my local council but was turned away. According to Women’s Aid research, 60% of all referrals to refuge services in 2017–18 were declined and one in six of these referrals were declined due to a lack of space or capacity to support the survivor.I lived in a state of fear and hyper vigilance, barely talking in case I said anything that would trigger Connor’s rage. I lived in shame, not telling anyone about the abuse because I believed what was happening to me was my fault. I sunk into a deep depression and would often feel disappointed to wake up in the morning, to face another day in torment.Women stay in abusive relationships for many different reasons, and it can be very difficult for a woman to leave an abusive partner – even if she wants to. I had no money, no friends and nowhere to go and never felt more isolated than during the festive season. My office closed for a fortnight at Christmas and I would feel sick with dread at the thought of spending every day indoors with a man who would monitor my every move and could explode at any moment.Christmas time goes hand in hand with large quantities of alcohol – a common trigger of physical and verbal abuse – meaning attacks can spike at this time. At the same time access to services can be limited during the festive season, leading to a real feeling of isolation. When you consider that an estimated 2.4 million adults in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year, it brings home just how many people will be living in fear this Christmas.It was during our last Christmas together that I realised I needed to leave Connor. I was rebuilding my relationship with my family in secret and remembering the person I used to be. It would take three attempts before I actually left for good, with one final flash of violence that left me physically scarred and with post-traumatic stress disorder, which would last more than a decade.  When I hear Christmas music now it doesn’t remind me of happy times, only living in fear. My skin prickles as I remember the festive hits that I’d hear playing in neighbours’ homes as Connor raged at me. Bruises fade but psychological abuse takes much longer to heal.
Domestic Violence Spikes Over Christmas – I Know First-Hand How Festivities Can Escalate
Catherine Renton is a freelance writer.
If you need support, call:National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-advice/advice-lines/Related... Donations To Women's Refuges Double In Wake Of Election Result Making Misogyny A Hate Crime Is The Only Way To End Violence Against Women Children Are Going Without Gifts And Food Again This Christmas – Here's How To Help Grace Millane Murder: Should ‘Rough Sex’ Ever Be A Legal Defence In Court?
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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