– Domestic violence
The idea behind Twice the Speed of Dark grew out of an experiment I did, finding ways to see and care about those who might otherwise slide before us, out of focus, statistics rather than complete people. It is astonishing to me that the figures on domestic violence and domestic murder are so grimly consistent but collectively, as a society, we seem to feel so little need to try to challenge them. There are many wonderful people and organisations working tirelessly, but the news, as a reflector of public interest, barely bothers to report the deaths and injuries that occur, in quiet streets, in ordinary homes, in our towns and villages on a relentless, daily basis.
I wanted to write about this. But I also wanted to advocate for Caitlin – or, more accurately, I wanted her to have the voice to be an advocate for herself.
I have never been in an abusive relationship though I have observed them. It is horrible to watch. Horrible. The person who wishes to exert themselves over the life of another seems instinctively to have the guile, the strategy, over a long period of time, to entrap. As Caitlin says in the book, it was losing a connection to herself that was the most difficult and dangerous harm that he wrought. She lost a connection to the sense that she needed to be protected.
I wanted to explore how that might happen. How a well-loved, confident young woman might be worn down and undermined to such an extent that she does not remove herself from the danger of an abusive man. It is a thing, believe me if you don’t already have the experience of it, that happens all the time.
Caitlin is able to find herself, to cast off the awful net of his coercion and manipulation. But only from the great distance of death. If we were more honest about the poison that exists in every part of our society, perhaps women would find it easier to reach the distance they need to save themselves from the clutches of an abusive relationship.
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