Mandy Thomas, Swindon author, poet, artist, photographer – and victim of severe domestic violence and psychological torture – will talk about her book You Can’t Run at Central Library on Thursday 2 June.
She plots 18 years of unimaginable abuse in dreadful detail. She was beaten, cut with knives and glass, threatened with a blow torch, imprisoned and raped many times – learning by painful experience to walk on eggshells whilst bringing up 5 children, including Daniel who killed himself in 2008. Mandy believes it was the psychological trauma of witnessing the violence that was the cause, though the coroner judged the case was inconclusive.
Mandy was hospitalised several times, dumped in A&E by her abusive husband. Eventually he was jailed for 15 years but was released on licence after six.
Many would have succumbed to the demons inflicted into their consciousness by such experiences, but Mandy has become an award winning advocate for justice for victims of domestic violence and a Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador.
She’s also been the chief advisor to script writers of Radio 4’s The Archers where domestic abuse and the consequences has been and will be a central storyline for the next twelve months.
“People ask why I didn’t just leave, but an abusive relationship takes many forms. You become trapped by a clever, manipulative person in an invisible prison of threat, I didn’t know where to turn,” said Mandy.
“Since 2002 I’ve campaigned for better treatment from the justice system which leaves victims in fear that abuse will continue after perpertrators are released early.
“Punishment should fit the crime but it doesn’t. It’s wrong that victims should be oppressed by a system that allows abusers to continue their evil activities. Should they have human rights when they deny women theirs?”
In 2015 Mandy addressed 2,000 law enforcers, politicians and policy makers from across the world attending the Femicide Conference, describing her experiences in gruesome detail and calling on them to act for women.
Later this year she will join other Survivor Ambassadors in a lobby of Parliament. Mandy commented: “It’s estimated that the cost of dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence is £90 billion a year, but government keeps sweeping the issue under the carpet. This must change.”
You Can’t Run was published in 2015 and has so far sold well over 2,100 copies. Help Mandy continue her campaign at Central Library on 2 June, 7.15pm.
Tickets are £1.50 (library members) or £2.50 from the library in advance, or on the door if still available.
Pictured top by Richard Wintle of www.calyxpix.com, Mandy with her son Jahmene Douglas after he reached the finals of the X Factor. Below, promoting her talk on 2 June