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Own My Life - A Message to Other Women


In June, we completed our third Own My Life course. Own My Life is a 12 week course developed to support women who have experienced abuse to regain ownership of their lives. The course is part of the package of support CASWA provides to women who have experienced domestic abuse. Our team deliver Own My Life in house as trained, accredited facilitators of the course.

As part of the final week of the course, we invited the women who took part in the most recent course to be involved in CASWA’s awareness raising work. This opportunity was met with open arms and enthusiasm! They decided they wanted to use this opportunity to share a message with other women who might have the opportunity to take part in the Own My Life course in future.

Here’s what they had to say…


Our message to other women about Own My Life...

Before the course started…

Before the course, I felt nervous and was worried. I had a fear of opening up…it was a secret life I had and going to a group to discuss things and open up was quite daunting at first.

When I first thought about attending the course, the thought of sitting around a table and discussing things that were personal was quite a scary thought – to be open and vulnerable and talk about things you haven’t spoken about or others haven’t understood. You feel like you have to hide it.

For me, I felt quite excited. When my worker asked me about taking part in the course, the timing was right for me. I wouldn’t have been ready a year ago, but I was ready to take control and own my own life again. I was really nervous about meeting people and worried about feeling judged though.

When my worker asked me about the course, my brain immediately went to “no!”, but I was reading a book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”…and I did. I was nervous, but I felt the fear and signed up to do the course!

During and after the first session...

I felt at ease straight away. Even after the first one I felt quite empowered. It was really helpful knowing that we were all there for the same reason – we’d all experienced domestic abuse. Being able to be there and not feel you had to explain was huge. It was nice to be understood.

I missed the first session. I was worried and so nervous the first time I came and didn’t know what to expect. I saw the table and realised we were all just sitting around the table and talking. Even during my first session, hearing from everyone and aspects of their journeys that I had also been through made me feel reassured. I felt quite excited about the rest of the course.

I felt comfortable straight away, it wasn’t somewhere I walked in to and felt I didn’t want to be there. I knew I could come and take things at my own pace and knew I didn’t have to speak. It was helpful knowing we were all there for the same reason.

During the course...

I looked forward to coming every week, I found it really interesting. I recognised that I had different thoughts and opinions which the course helped to shape and change and helped me to see things from another perspective. When I was feeling a bit low, I would think of the messages from the course.

The course wasn’t easy and it was difficult at times, but it was a real eye opener. I was agreeing with so much of what other people were saying. It was nice to be there and not feel you had to explain and to feel understood.

Some of the sessions were so powerful and visual and helped me to understand why it had been so difficult for me to leave.

Finishing the course...

It has been so nice getting to know other people who have experienced abuse too, it is nice to be able to stay in contact if we'd like to!

The course has changed my perspective. I used to think I was to blame, but I know now it isn’t me, it wasn’t my fault. I used to blame myself, the course has changed my thinking. Even the way I see myself now has changed. It is a big thing – I haven’t managed to do that in years!

It made me think about my everyday life. I have always struggled to stand up for myself and give my opinion. It is good to be able to have a voice and know that I can and that it is okay to use it!

I nearly started a new relationship at the start of the course. I had alarm bells and recognised the signs and was able to take a stand. I stood up for myself, took control and ended the relationship in its early stages. I wouldn’t have been able to do that before.

I am a different person than I was before, I have regained some control in my life and know I shouldn’t be ashamed. The course has changed me and it has motivated me and now I am determined to take control. It has made me think and given me confidence to stand up for myself, I wouldn’t have been in this place without it.

Our message to other women thinking about taking part in the course…

Don’t think twice, just grab the opportunity to come. You learn so much about yourself, it is so worth it!

You learn so much doing the course and feel better! You learn so much about yourself! It is definitely worth it!

In a way you need to feel ready as it might be too much if you have only just realised you have been in an abusive relationship. The CASWA team can help you to figure out when would be the best time for you to take part.

I think a lot of people feel ashamed, but the group is a space to be you and it is confidential. You can share your views and it helps you to see things from different perspectives.

The course has been really, really, really amazing! The team have been wonderful and made us feel at ease and were so understanding. It wasn't all difficult, there have been lots of lighter moments and lots of laughter and banter over the 12 weeks!

The course is life-changing and motivating - it makes you determined to take control!

If you're unsure whether to do it or not - just go for it! You won't lose anything!

We would like to thank the women who took the opportunity to share their experiences of completing the Own My Life course in this blog post. Their words speak volumes! As an organisation we are proud to offer this course as part of our support package.

Find out more about Own My Life on a previous blog post: The Own My Life Course at CASWA or the course website: The Own My Life Course Website