“Don’t Judge Me” Poetry

Writing is a really important part of the lives, of a lot of the women BWP have supported. We wanted to be able to draw on this and use creative writing to raise awareness of domestic abuse and recognise International Womens Day. We asked the women to write pieces on the themes of #Dont Judge Me and #Choose to Challenge.

Alongside this, an opportunity arose for a local poet, Sophie Sparham, to be able to facilitate a creative writing zoom session for BWP.  Within the session the group created some brilliant, reflective and personal pieces, using their experiences and story telling within poetry to raise awareness of the impact of domestic abuse.

Creative writing, in whatever form, is much more than just a hobby. It’s a way of expressing how we see the world, a gateway to our unique perspective, and for some, a therapy. One of the best things about writing is that it’s accessible to anyone, all you need is a pen and paper. Writing can be used to make sense of what’s around us or transport us to new worlds.  It can support us when we’re sad and allow us to express our joy as we celebrate. It can capture a moment or sum up a lifetime.  Sophie Sparham, Poet

Here are some comments from some of the wonderful women we have had the pleasure of writing with, on why they enjoy writing and what they project has meant to them…

Click on each one to read more.

I had never really written for myself until lockdown started.

I had never really written for myself until lockdown started. Prior to that my counsellor, through BWP, encouraged me to write a journal, but other than that writing was for work such as letters and reports. Work that had to be done definitely not for enjoyment.

But since I wrote that first piece “Do It Now” I haven’t been able to stop writing!

It just sort of flows out of me and I literally cannot stop until it’s done.

And the need to write just takes over like a compulsion that I cannot stop. Something happens, someone says something , I hear something music or someone says anything then that’s it I have to grab the nearest pen and start writing.

My handbag is full of random bits of paper with scribble on them. I have a major panic if I can’t find one.

Writing has given me a whole new focus in my life. It feels like I have found a part of me that I didn’t know was missing. Like I have found my inner voice that was silenced for so long but now I just want to broadcast all over the place.

I knew that I had hidden stuff deep down inside me and now it feels like I am digging out all the feelings that I couldn’t express then, but I can now. It’s things I had totally forgotten about . Sometimes I am not sure it’s my memory that is playing tricks on me but then something else flashes in my mind and I know that, yes that did happen.

I feel that my writing has helped me become myself, become a whole person, that I wasn’t allowed to be in the past. Writing has helped me conquer fears that I didn’t know I had but had held me in their grip my whole life.

Writing has set me free from the control that other people have had over me.

My writing has given me a purpose too. I want to tell the whole world ? not just about me and my journey, but to understand control, abuse and trauma.

I absolutely love my writing now. It fills a gap in my life that I didn’t know I had. I feel it’s completed me as a person. I have my knitting, crochet and sewing to fill my life with colour and beauty, family fill my life with love and my writing allows me to be me.

I love being involved with the literacy group as I love reading too. Hearing how other people think about things, their opinions and how they express things is fantastic. They are sharing things, not telling you how to do it, or that everything you do is wrong.  When that’s all you have been told all your life it’s an amazing change in my life. People like my writing and they understand me, they don’t laugh at me or criticise me.

I have never felt so proud of myself when my poem was used for White ribbon day. If it helped just one person to realise about abuse, then that’s fantastic.

I just cannot believe that very soon on 28th February my words are being published in a book. Someone read my words and actually thought they are good enough to publish in a real book. I can’t get over it. I a, so excited.

I shall never stop writing, ever. My head is full of words and phrases that float around gathering momentum until whoosh 8 pick up my pen and off I go.

Thank you ladies for asking me to write a piece last year. If you hadn’t asked it would never occurred to me to write a poem ever. Writing has given me a whole new  part of me that I never knew existed. Since finding it I feel like a whole woman, that my thoughts, words and opinions are worth something, not just to me, but other people too. Writing has given me my worth.

Author of: “Don’t Judge Me!/Christmas Tree/Mashed Potato

Writing helps me to process...

I’ve found that writing helps me to process what I have been through. I also hope that by sharing my story, somebody else could be inspired by it, and get the help they need to be free.

Author of: “Don’t Judge Me and Choose To Challenge”

I found it a very special experience...

I found it a very special experience. I would say that I’m quite introverted and don’t celebrate myself usually (this is a first really). Given the opportunity to work with Sophie and write about myself was amazing.

It really surprised me how much I have achieved in my life and how proud of my life experiences I am. Probably more so because of the context of the group and exhibition.

When I think about the session and my poem it fills me with happiness probably because you’ve given me a chance to voice myself and invested in me – thank you all for the opportunity! X’

Author of: “In Time I have Evolved”

I found writing this piece very challenging and emotional.

I found writing this piece very challenging and emotional. When you’re in the middle of it you don’t realise quite how much you’re going through.

However, it was also very cathartic and enabled me to see how far I have come and helped me process some of the things that happened.

I don’t think I would have written in this way if it wasn’t for the exhibition as I wanted to be able to safely share some of my experiences to help others understand what it’s like and how difficult it is to leave but also to show that it is possible to leave.

Author of “Why didn’t she leave sooner?”

As part of the NJM Project, these poems have been collated into an online book, along side other artwork and materials. The book can be found at: Don’t Judge Me