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// Interview with Author and Domestic Abuse Advocate - Jennifer Gilmour //

Can I just start by saying how incredibly grateful I am to Jennifer Gilmour, for sharing with The Rebel Girls Club about her work.

After reading some of the articles Jennifer has written, I am in complete awe of how open, informative and powerful her words can be. What I personally love about visiting Jennifer Gilmour's WEBSITE and reading some of her BLOGGER ARTICLES, published by various blogs including Huffington Post, is how uplifted it makes me feel. Jennifer tackles the horrible and horrifying reality of domestic and emotional abuse and you instantly get the feeling that the work she does will help, support and even change the lives of the many women who come across it. 

Jennifer has also set up an ABUSE TALK FORUM where people can share their experiences and get support. She reminds women that they're not alone and gives them a safe space to ask for help. As well as all of the above (!!) Jennifer is an Author of two books (both available HERE) and a mum of three, running her business from home... She is an inspiration to all female entrepreneurs and to the victims of abusive relationships.

(Jennifer's Book - Isolation Junction)

I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to interview this bad ass woman, so thanks again Jennifer.

Hi Jennifer, I know I have given you a brief introduction (sadly, I’m not as much of a wordsmith as yourself), but I was wondering if you could begin by telling us a bit more about yourself and the work you do?

Hi, firstly thank you so much for having me, I delighted to have been invited to speak about what I do.

I’m Jennifer and I am a author  and advocate for women in abusive relationships; as well as being mum of three (8, 6 and 2 year olds). I was born in Hull and after a gap year, some time at uni and a bit of life after, I returned. I enjoy crafts, reading, attending and supporting local events, walking and as a family we go out Geocaching.

In 2016 I released my debut novel Isolation Junction. My book follows the story of Rose who is stuck in an abusive and coercive relationship referred to as Isolation Junction.  It is an enlightening read, with romance and comedy woven through the plot.

In October last year, I released my second book Clipped Wings. A group of survivors have written, or been interviewed, about their own experiences. These accounts – in their own words – show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, in fact, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society. With their help, we can reach out to educate people about this insidious behaviour.

I’ve also opened a weekly Twitter chat under #AbuseTalk for anyone to discuss domestic abuse each week, the response from this lead to me opening a forum which is on my website and is sponsored by a solicitor and other businesses.

I also speak at events across the UK as well as speaking with other survivors and victims and a lot of signposting work behind the scenes.

You are the author of two publications and you have written articles for Huffington Post, which I found incredibly powerful to read and hugely inspirational. Is there one particular part of your work that you are most proud of?

Its great to hear that my work comes across as powerful. Thank you. I have to say that I really am proud of the articles that have made a difference to people’s lives, but on a personal level I would have to say that my first publication Isolation Junction is something I am very proud of. I wrote this after coming out of an abusive relationship when it was still quite raw, but I gelt it was a message I needed to get out there.

I wrote this book because I had experienced emotional abuse and coercive control, I believed at the time that there could have been more awareness on this type of abuse. My initial goal was to bring awareness through a form of entertainment but also educates and to help at least one person.

As an advocate against domestic abuse, I can imagine a lot of women ask for your help and support as they know you have that understanding and can relate to their struggles. Does this take its toll on you emotionally and make it difficult to achieve a work/life balance?

I do have a lot of women confide in me and ask for support, guidance or help. I also have had quite a few men who have spoken to me and I was glad to have a male perspective in my second publication Clipped Wings, which collates survivors real experiences together to show what domestic abuse looks like. I am thankful to have spent a lot of time on self developing, beginning with a recovery programme, a retreat, a life coach and reading. I am however passionate and sometimes the line is crossed, someone may need some help at a specific time and if I am available and have seen the message- I will respond to them. I signed up for this to happen and the fact that I am able to help others is a reward in itself. I do also moderate a forum on my website which is available 24/7 and FREE, most know they are able to gain support through this if I am unavailable.  

Is it easy for domestic abuse victims in Hull to access services that can help them? You will have to bare with me as I am relatively in the dark about what kind of help is available to women in abusive relationships, hence why I really wanted you to talk with The Rebel Girls Club.

It depends on how the victim or survivor is going to access the service and what they need in terms of support. If it is self referred then this seems to be a lot more responsive then relying on someone else referring you for support post abuse (EG, Police, social services, victim support, family support, doctors). I have spoken to many who have been told they were referred but then there was no follow up. I seem to have become the person to help link people to the services available because if you don’t know about them they can be difficult to find or know what to look for. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the people making the referrals are extremely busy and this takes up a lot of time and money.

If you are in a potentially dangerous situation then I would urge that you call 999, the police will respond to harmful situations.

And finally, I know you are a mum of three and running your own business. Do you have any advice for the bad-ass mothers out there who are also working hard to promote themselves as female entrepreneurs?

Never give up, it is worth all the hard work you put in, its worth the time invested in the beginning and the late nights. Keep the vision of why you wanted to start a business at the fore front and keep working towards your goals. Something that really helped me was goal setting, did you know that 80% of people have NO goals, 3% write them down but don’t review them and only 1% of those who write down their goals and review them are high achievers. That stuck with me and helps me power through the rough times of running a business.

I recently handed over my printing and embroidery business to my husband because my writing and advocacy was taking over my time. I realised I hadn’t set up the business for me, it was for my family and for us both to work from home (not just me). Sometimes adjusting those goals will help make the vision clearer.

Thanks so much to Jennifer for answering The Rebel Girls Club's questions, it really helps inspire when you hear about how a fellow female entrepreneur operates and strives to achieve their goals. Definitely setting up a list of goals asap and reviewing the hell out of that sh**. Jennifer you are an inspiration! Keep on shining.


Find out more about Jennifer's work by following some of her social media links below:

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