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On Sunday 6th October I'll be running (or possibly walking or even crawling) Cardiff Half Marathon, raising money for Welsh Women's Aid.
Domestic abuse can happen to anybody, but it often happens behind closed doors. It happens in secret and we don't talk about it anywhere near as much as we should. It is more than just physical violence, it can be emotional, financial, sexual and psychological abuse too. For most people home is a place of safety and comfort, but for those living with any form of domestic abuse that safety does not exist. No one should face domestic abuse.
This year the Welsh Government have launched the #ThisIsControl camaign. Coercive Control became a criminal offence in England and Wales in 2015. I wish it had been an offence so many years earlier, I wish it had been better understood so much earlier. But despite now being officially a part of law, it can be so hard to identify when it is happening to you or to someone you care about. And even when you do realise it's happening, it's incredibly difficult to break away from.
Having somewhere to turn for support is so important. Welsh Women's Aid provide services, a 24 hour helpline and are working to create Change That Lasts to ensure that all women and children affected can access the right support to allow them to recover, build independence and most importantly get their lives back.
I hope that by putting on my trainers and dragging myself round 13.1 miles I can help to raise both awareness of domestic abuse, and especially coercive control and some money to support those living with it or recovering from it.
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