An abuse survivor and activist says victims of abuse must act as a ‘chain of human strength’ as women around the world come together to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Andrea Aviet, 39, who lives in London, was subjected to the coercive control of her ex-husband for several years before fleeing with her two children and becoming an advocate for women’s rights.
After forging a new life for herself, she said she wanted to use her “bad experience as a source of strength to inspire others to live a life without shame”.
“You are not prepared. You don’t know what’s going on. This is the person you love and decide to spend the rest of your life with.
“When that person starts to transform and become something totally different, which you didn’t expect, you really don’t know what’s going on.
“And it’s like, ‘Am I dreaming? Was it me? Was it my fault?’
Miss Aviet said when it comes to abuse there are always ‘tough choices’ and ‘it’s not black and white’, adding: ‘I have to be a voice for those who have lost their voice’ .
In 2016, Miss Aviet published a self-funded book, White Sorrow, which documents the abuse she suffered.
Earlier this week she was part of an event in Croydon, south London, where attendees received massages and makeovers and heard speeches from guests including Croydon Mayor Sherwan Chowdhury.
He said: “I know Andrea Aviet turned her own painful experiences into power for good and became a positive role model and activist.
“(On) International Women’s Day, it is important to redouble our efforts to tackle inequality and celebrate the enormous contribution that women make to society, not only here but, in these difficult times, everywhere. in the world.”