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The Refuge: My Journey to the Safe House for Battered Women by [Smith, Jenny]
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The Refuge: My Journey to the Safe House for Battered Women Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

About the Author

Jenny Smith was born in 1946 in a Derbyshire mining village. She was one of the first residents of the Chiswick Women's Refuge, when domestic violence forced her into hiding with her children. Jenny was a long-term foster carer, is now in her sixties and lives in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 624 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Paperback Original edition (24 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DX7IRX4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #144,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well done Jenny, you've told your life story beautifully, honestly and simply, of the traumatic years leading you to the sanctuary of Chiswick Womens Aid. Yes I to was there from Feb.73 to Jan.77 Jenny's book certainly brought back memories of 40 years ago, the support we got from each other in the knowledge there were other women being beaten up by their husbands or partners.
Chiswick Womens Aid gave us back our dignity and self respect the right to be women and mothers and not the cowed, battered and beaten pitiful beings we were before
Jenny it must have taken all your courage to lay your soul bare and tell your life story.
Well done I'm proud to know you

.
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This is the real life story of almost every battered wife or partner. Every young girl should be made to read this to recognise the signs of a potential abuser. The truth is, there is still prejudice about why a woman remains with an abuser and the law should always step in to help and assist a woman whose mind has been subjected to so much abuse she can barely make a rational decision for herself and the protection of her children. It took me 27 years to escape, I pray that every woman out there escapes after only one time of abuse. Thank you to people like Erin Pizzey who helped the Women's Aid organisation and the fantastic work they continue today.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely great read...a subject that has been ignored for far to long, for a woman who suffered first hand, such terrible abuse, and is able to share it in such a well written way is amazing, Thanks Jenny!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an amazing book! It shows that people can come through the worst nightmare and still have a fulfilled life afterwards.
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Jenny Smith is an inspiration to all women. After going through everything in her life, she is still going strong and and hasn't let what happened to her drag her down. I love this book as my mum came from a violent relationship and I can see the similarities in both Jenny and my mum. things like this only make you stronger then ever!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Several years ago I read an old book from the library on Crisis Intervention Strategies and the authors mentioned a book called 'Scream quietly or the neighbours will hear' by Erin Pizzey who founded the first women's refuge in 1971. I was immediately interested as I was born in 1986 so I have lived through a time where refuges for Domestic Violence have always existed.

Unfortunately most of Erin Pizzey books can only be bought second hand as they are no longer in print but I managed to track down a second hand copy of 'Scream Quietly or the neighbours will hear' on Amazon and I went on to buy 'Prone to violence' by Erin Pizzey (again second hand) and I last bought 'This Way to the Revolution: A Memoir' an autobiography by Erin Pizzey which thankfully is still in print! Amazon suggested I buy 'The Refuge' by Jenny Smith when I purchased 'This Way to the Revolution', which I duly did.

The first half of the book is essentially an autobiography detailing the author's life with the second half focusing on her time in the refuge and beyond. Jenny comes from a Northern working class background, the daughter of a miner, and she describes how living with her mother's Schizophrenia drove her to run away from home at an early age to London.

For someone of my age, it gives you a fascinating insight into what life was like before the pioneering work done by Erin Pizzey and others. Victims of Domestic Violence or battered wives as they were then known would often be classed by Local Authorities as "intentionally homeless" for escaping abusive partners and they often received little sympathy or help from people they turned to such as doctors and clergymen. There are some appalling accounts in the book of people just turning a complete blind eye to the violence.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Jenny Smith born in 1946 was brought up in Derbyshire and the Prologue describes the warm, happy memories she has of her early childhood, the Roast dinners, homemade cakes, loving parents and lots of children in the neighbourhood to get into mischief with. Sadly her mother is diagnosed with schizophrenia and this has a huge impact on Jenny's emotional well-being as she struggles to make sense of her mothers rages and hallucinations. At the age of 13 Jenny runs away to London where she ends up getting involved in prostitution in order to survive. After a year on the streets she is reunited with her family only to be sentenced to a year in an Approved school.

Jenny's book covers so many sad topics, mental illness, runaways, prostitution, homelessness, Mixed race marriage, poverty and domestic violence. After getting into an abusive relationship Jenny manages to escape with her two daughters to a refuge for battered women in Chiswick, run by Erin Pizzey. The strength of these women is incredible and Erin has made a promise to never turn a battered away. The book describes Jenny's time at the refuge and beyond. The book mentioned two documentaries that were filmed in the refuge, "Scream quietly or the neighbours will here" and "Sanctuary" which was filmed in 1991 for Channel 4. The former was filmed with the same title as Erin Pizzey's book written a couple of years prior to the documentary. I would love to see this book available on Kindle and I'm also now in search online of any clips of the Sanctuary documentary. Erin Pizzey sounds an amazing woman with the strength to fight for what she believed in no matter what the personal cost.

Jenny's style of writing makes this a very easy read despite the harrowing subject matter.
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