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Woman United launches Domestic Abuse Campaign #HearHerRoar
PHOTOGRAPHY & ART

Woman United launches Domestic Abuse Campaign #HearHerRoar





UK charity Woman United is out to change the story about Domestic Abuse in their #HearHerRoar campaign, with a focus on breaking down the toxic stories and broken systems that are designed to keep abusers in power and victims and survivors silent.

In the campaign, Woman United shares the brave and powerful stories of seven domestic abuse survivors from across England and Wales in a series of inspiring portraits and films, using real stories from real women to inspire a collective shift in the story of domestic abuse from one of shame, fear, stigma, and disempowerment to a narrative of power, hope, inspiration, and resilience.

With an all-woman crew of volunteers, Woman United’s creative director and photographer, Stephanie Goldfinger, designed two creative portraits for each survivor in a deeply personal visual pairing for each woman. Each portrait set illustrates the survivor’s own unique journey from control and silence during her abuse to the freedom and voice she has bloomed into since, and are accompanied by a short film to connect the portraits to her story.





The Woman United #HearHerRoar Survivors


Erica Osakwe





Erica is a 22 year old university student from London who set out to change UK domestic abuse law. After her case was thrown out due to exceeding the six month time limit for pressing charges, she launched a campaign called Victims Too, and gathered almost 65,000 signatures to abolish the time limit on reporting abuse. She has been featured on BBC News and Sky News using her voice to shed light on the broken system that let her abuser go free, and in October 2021, BBC announced that Priti Patel has agreed to extend the timeframe to up to two years. As only a teenager, she had to watch every word she said and every move she made to make sure her abuser didn’t scream verbal abuse, assault her body, or even throw her off her chair. Just a couple years after she finally left, she now dances on the eggshells she used to walk upon.









Erica’s first portrait represents her journey from silencing her voice during the years of abuse in order to stay safe to become the woman who can instead loudly and boldly dance upon the ground beneath her feet.

The second portrait represents her liberation from silence and transformation into the woman whose voice literally is changing the conversation around domestic abuse amongst the people who actually have the power to fix the broken systems. A woman who turned her pain into a blooming garden of hope for all. womanunited.org/erica





Lejla Dauti

Lejla came to the UK as an asylum seeker from Kosovo, and after almost a decade of domestic abuse she is using her voice raising awareness for violence against women online. Her series, Lejla Please Tell My Story, has reached millions of women around the world. She was literally strangled as the first act of physical abuse from her ex. But her voice was strangled long before, and long after, this incident.





Lejla’s first portrait represents the silencing of her voice during the period of her life when she was controlled, beaten, and a shell of her true self. Through manipulation, gaslighting, and the full spectrum of abuse tactics, he made her believe that she was to blame for everything and that her voice, her body, and her mind were worthless. No one knew what was happening behind closed doors. And because of the trauma bond, and the systems which are designed to keep victims silent, she stayed quiet for almost nine years.

The second portrait represents her liberation and transformation into the absolute queen she is today. A woman who rose from the ashes to find her voice again, and is using it to lead women around the world to find theirs. womanunited.org/lejla





Sam Taylor





Sam fought her way out of an abusive relationship where she lost every part of herself to become a Guinness World Record holder for hauling an airplane with her wife, and Britain’s Strongest Woman over 40. She uses her voice to inspire women everywhere to know that it gets better, you are beautiful just the way you are, and that you are far stronger than you think.





Sam’s first portrait represents the years of wearing dresses and heels to try to stop the onslaught of abuse by killing her androgynous identity, and the pivotal moment when she literally threw them all in the bin, set her old life on fire, and began the journey toward rising from the ashes to find herself again.

The second portrait represents her liberation and transformation into the woman who fought her way back from the darkness and found tremendous inner and outer strength in embracing her true self. A champion for herself, for the LGBTQ community, and for victims and survivors everywhere. womanunited.org/sam









Mel Jones

Mel is a graphic designer who is using her voice and art to spread domestic abuse awareness. When her abuser “cured her infertility” he slowly started taking control of her mind, body, and freedom . He isolated her from her friends, manipulated and gaslit her to make her question her reality, took her bank cards and car, and would lock her away in the house with her newborn for days at a time. All for her “own protection”. Now, years after she finally left, she uses her art to help educate survivors about abuse, and has become the person she needed when she was locked away.





Mel’s first portrait represents her journey from being controlled, manipulated, and trapped in her relationship and home, to finding the key to her freedom and ultimate happiness. The second portrait represents her liberation from silence and transformation into the woman who uses her voice and art to dream up a new world for victims and survivors. A woman who has created a beautiful new life for herself and all the women her work reaches. womanunited.org/mel





Louise Erksine

Louise is an artist who is using her voice and art to help her family and community heal through poetry. When her abuser told her everything she was longing to hear, she didn’t see what was coming. Louise survived toxic manipulations, subtle and devastating physical and emotional abuse, gaslighting to make her think she was crazy, and nonstop tech abuse even long after she was able to leave. Now, years after she finally left, she uses her abundant creativity and vulnerable poetry to bring hope to her children and her community on and offline, and is courageously breaking cycles and helping to heal her family every day.





Louise’s first portrait holding her phone framed by her wedding flowers, the thistle, represents her journey from being controlled, manipulated, and abused through endless abusive messages, to finding her blooming, brave, heart once again.

The second portrait represents her liberation from silence and transformation into the woman who found her way back to writing poetry to help heal herself, her family, and her community – poems which are tattooed on countless bodies and tacked upon walls everywhere. A woman who uses her words to turn her pain into power. womanunited.org/louise





Steph Connolly

Steph is a content strategist who uses her voice to help others write and share their authentic story. As only a teenager, her abuser body and slut shamed her for years, using her eating disorder as a weapon to break down her sense of self-worth. In university, the verbal abuse escalated, the private and public humiliation became far worse, and the physical assault on her body began. Now, over a decade later, she has turned the trauma, blame, and shame he created inside her into a body she nourishes and celebrates and a heart that is full of forgiveness. She has spent years speaking out and fighting the “very British” culture of suppressing emotions and works to break down the shame and silence surrounding domestic abuse with the people in her life.





Steph’s first portrait represents her journey from being trapped and bound in a world of physical and emotional shame to becoming the woman who instead has bloomed in the experience of learning to love her body and her whole, beautiful self.

The second portrait represents her liberation from silence and transformation into the woman who found a way to a bold, brave, open-hearted forgiveness of her abuser and herself so she could let go of shame and blame and grow into the woman she is today. A woman who turned her pain into a heart that blooms with love and beauty. womanunited.org/steph





Stella Eden

Stella is an artist and author who is using her voice and her harrowing story of escape in her memoir to raise awareness for domestic abuse. After a childhood of abuse and neglect, Stella walked straight into the arms of a man who finally made her feel loved and looked after. What she didn’t see was that his care was masking a deeply controlling and abusive personality that would imprison her for 18 years with the help of his parents. He isolated her from her friends, controlled her eating, sleeping, took over and manipulated her finances, made her question her sanity, and left her fighting for her life and her freedom. Now, years after her brave escape from his control, she uses her story to educate survivors about abuse and has found love and strength in using the voice she lost.





Stella’s first portrait represents her journey from being financially controlled, manipulated, and in overwhelming debt, to finding her freedom in rebuilding a garden where there once was only ash.

The second portrait represents her liberation from her prison and transformation into the woman who now flies as free as a bird, using her brilliant inner light and hope to help victims and survivors everywhere. A woman who has created a beautiful new life for herself and who will never be locked away in silence again. womanunited.org/stella





About Woman United

London-based Woman United launched in 2020, and is fighting the long-standing systems which keep women in a divided, disempowered, and unequal position in society. It was founded by photographer Stephanie Goldfinger after she grew tired of the toxic stories and broken systems silencing the voices of the most inspiring women in her life, and decided that something must be done to ensure all women’s stories were heard, valued, and amplified as vehicles for collective healing and change.

The charity now runs awareness campaigns and empowered storytelling workshops to change the stories we’re told about women, focusing each year on a systemic issue that contributes to gender inequality. This year, they chose to feature the topic of domestic abuse due to the dramatic increase in violence against women during the pandemic, a crisis the UN has termed The Shadow Pandemic. They are passionate about making sure every woman feels seen, heard, and valued for her own unique story, and has the opportunity to discover the power of her voice and use it as a vehicle for change in her community.

To see all the portraits and watch the films, visit https://www.womanunited.org/hear-her-roar

To donate to help women and survivors use their stories to create change, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/woman-united-domestic-abuse





Find them on Instagram @wearewomanunited

You can currently see the photos exhibited in tube stations in Central London.

Photography by Stephanie Goldfinger

#domesticabuse #StephanieGoldfinger #wearewomanunited

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