The Own My Life Course

Helping women regain ownership of their lives.

Our Funders:
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The Own My Life Course is governanced by The Women's Liberation Collective CIO,

registered charity no. 1184411.

© 2018 by the Own My Life Course | Privacy Policy

Why?

Core Values

  • Women are the experts on their own lives: They need our support in moving forward (much like a pregnant woman needs a midwife to help her through labour), but women are the experts on their lives, what they need and how we can best support them.

  • Depathologisation: Often women with abusive partners are pathologised which involves treating them as if they are “psychologically abnormal”.  However, women’s reactions and management of their lives with an abuser are usually totally normal.  The issue is the abuser, not the woman.  

  • Trauma Literacy and Psychoeducation: Building women’s literacy about trauma will enable them to more quickly regain ownership of their lives and make sense of the ways they have responded to an abuser and the wider pressures and challenges within their life.

  • Information ownership: The information within the group will be owned by the group.

  • Right use of power: The facilitator and the organisation running the Own My Life Course holds significant power and this must be acknowledged and managed appropriately.

  • Collaborative not competitive: The Own My Life Course recognises that patriarchy seeks to divide women to conquer them, this is evident in women’s magazines, TV programmes, the beauty industry and across society.  We seek to foster collaborative spaces which build sisterhood and resist competitive attitudes.

  • Honouring resistance: Women always resist abusers and this resistance should be honoured.  Sadly, when women share how they have resisted abuse, they can be met with scorn and blame.  The Own My Life Course seeks to honour women’s resistance.

  • Liberation and equality: In light of the Own My Life Course’s Core Principles of Feminism and Intersectionality, the value of equality of all human beings is recognised.  The current state is one in which women are oppressed by men and misogyny; black people are oppressed by white people and white supremacy; lesbian and gay people are oppressed by heterosexual ideals; transgender people are oppressed by transphobia; and disabled people are oppressed by a society designed by and for able-bodied people.  The Own My Life Course works to ensure all participants experience equality of opportunity but seeks to move beyond equality to full liberation.

  • Addressing the professional/personal dichotomy: Women’s services have developed a tendency to treat professional knowledge and expertise as of greater value, however appropriate and ethical use of our personal narratives as professionals can be helpful and useful to women.

 

“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.” 

Salman Rushdie

Core Principles

  1. Feminist Analysis: A feminist analysis is necessary to effectively respond to male violence and the harm men do to women and children.

  2. Intersectionality: Alongside sex, there are other axis of oppression including race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability, gender identity, education, age, job, religion, and economic status that interact with the impact of male violence on women’s lives. (Crenshaw, 1991)

  3. Ownership and Entitlement: Men’s abuse and violence is rooted in their beliefs that they own their partner (and children) and they are entitled to behave in whatever ways they choose to.

  4. Controlling Behaviour: Men who abuse use various tactics to control women and children, to have power over them, and to maintain their beliefs of ownership and entitlement.

  5. Space for Action: In order to leave an abuser and move forward with their lives women need space for action, where the abuser’s tactics become less effective and they have a supportive space to take positive action for their lives. (Kelly, 2003)

  6. Consciousness Raising: This refers both to a woman’s consciousness of her own personal life, but also to gaining understanding about the dynamics of domestic abuse and what is driving the abuser’s behaviour.  It also includes socio-political education in identifying misogyny, patriarchy, and sexism in media, law, history, and across society.

  7. Regaining Ownership/Building Self-Efficacy: Women need to be able to take back ownership of their lives from the abuser.  They can be supported to do this through having space for action and through consciousness raising.  Self-efficacy is defined as having confidence in your ability to exert control over your own motivation, behaviour, and social environment.  Helping women to build self-efficacy is integral to recovery after a relationship with an abuser.  (Bandura, 1994)

  8. Safety: Abusive men kill women and children.  They rape, injure, disfigure and violate women and children.  Any intervention with women may increase an abuser’s risk to them, and this requires practitioners and organisations to make every effort to maintain and increase the women and their children’s safety.