Transgender woman, Alicia Perry, gave a speech on domestic violence at Stormont on Saturday night last (5th March) to mark International Women’s Day. She feels very passionate about domestic abuse, and asks for your help to raise awareness of this very misunderstood issue.
Alicia says that in honour of her friend, Donna’s memory, who died in a domestic violence incident, she would like to do something to change the laws in Northern Ireland. She also says that the statistics would shock you.
As part of her speech, she quoted Lady Gaga:
“Till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real
No, it won’t be real, you won’t know how it feels”
She said in her speech that in 2013 she lost her friend to domestic violence:
“Donna was 49 and found dead one evening in her apartment. It was no secret she was in and out of a domestic violent relationship with her boyfriend for 16 years. I had personally witnessed the impact of this anger on her face, on her heart and on her very soul. Her death was unexplained and as such remains that. I thought it was black and white, I told her to leave him many times and because she kept taking him back I distanced myself. I didn’t want to know anymore and I didn’t want to listen. I just didn’t ‘get it’.
The month before her death I began dating a man. He was my first since my transition and I fell in love at first sight. He was gorgeous, strong, kind, loving, considerate, all those things a girl wants in a man and more. I fell in love, he was my Prince Charming and my hopes began building for my Happy Ever After. He was really there for me when Donna died, held me in his arms while I cried sore for my dear friend; who really would have deserved her, Happy Ever After. A better friend I couldn’t have met. She was simply the best”.
However, Alicia states that her own dreams were crushed the next month when
“….my Prince beat me repeatedly, in my bedroom, then out on the street in front of terrified neighbours. He broke bail to find me, told me it was the drink and steroids which seemed a valid reason so I forgave him and took him back. Why? Because I didn’t want to give up on my Happy Ever After and I believed my Prince when he said he was sorry”.
However, as things got worse, Alicia found the courage to walk away, and started to work for Women’s Aid in Northern Ireland.
She told the audience:
“Many women are too frightened, too vulnerable, too damaged or just too confused because they feel they don’t have a choice. Many women just don’t ‘get it’ yet, just like I’m sure many of you here tonight who have not been through it”.
She appealed to the Justice Minister and Health Minister of NI to fulfill a promise made in 2015 in relation to domestic abuse:
“We owe it to the women, children and men of N.I. to strategically tackle this issue NOW and tonight I am reaching out to you all to offer my time and I will try help you to ‘get it’. I also demand, not request, the Justice Minister and the Health Minister to immediately sign off on the Domestic Violence Strategy that was promised back in September 2015 before more women, children and men have to suffer.
I would like to see MARAC [Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference] do more in terms of strategic alliances, networking, communication, housing, social needs, etc. Meeting the women, men and children survivors might just help them to ‘get it’ too”.
Alicia Perry concluded in her speech at Stormont:
“We owe it to the women, children and men of N. I. to help improve their chances of a Happy Ever After. It’s too late for my friend Donna but it’s not too late for them”.