Domestic Abuse survivor and campaigner Rachel Williams has been announced as an additional speaker at this year’s festival. Rachel is the author of ‘The Devil at Home” where she gives an account of the domestic abuse that she endured and resulted in her attempted murder. Rachel Williams was in an abusive relationship for 18 years, and was shot and severely injured by her violent partner in 2011. He then committed suicide, as did her 16-year-old son Jack, shortly after the attack. The event aims to highlight the severity of domestic abuse and that it can happen to anyone.
Now a qualified IDVA, Rachel campaigns tirelessly and is committed to ending domestic abuse. She has had five successful petitions on Change.org with a combined million signatures. One of her campaigns and surveys went to help towards making non-fatal strangulation a specific crime. Rachel is the founder of SUTDA (Stand Up to Domestic Abuse), Ambassador for Locality Solutions, and Patron for WCID – What Can I Do and was awarded the St David’s Humanitarian Award in 2020.
In 2019 she held Wales first survivor led domestic abuse conference, which was opened by the First Minister of Wales. The event was attended by over 300 delegates, which were made up of survivors, MP’s, Assembly Members, Chief Constables, Police & Crime Commissioners, former Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird, Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs and Minister Sacramento.
This session follows a collaboration between the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Tourism to mark the 25th November as the United Nations International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. The Ministry for Justice is also leading on number of events in relation to domestic abuse including a conference where Rachel will be speaking on Friday morning to the key stakeholder organisations in Gibraltar that provide support in domestic abuse situations. The public will have the opportunity to hear Rachel’s story on Friday at 4:30pm as part of the literary festival at the Sunborn. Tickets can be purchased on: https://www.buytickets.gi/events/gibraltar-literary-festival-2022-551
Minister for Tourism Vijay Daryanani MP said: “The literary festival covers a wide range of genres. To cover this crucial social issue, especially on this date in the calendar is particularly important and I am proud that we have been able to, in collaboration with the Minister for Justice, to secure Rachel’s attendance so that her story can be shared with the general public.”
Minister for Justice Samantha Sacramento MP said: “Rachel is a formidable speaker and she is highly regarded and respected internationally. A lot of out front line services who deliver domestic abuse protection or support have already received training delivered by her and now, through the literary festival, the general public also has the opportunity to hear her. Through telling her story Rachel explains the severity of domestic abuse, coercive behaviour and raises awareness that it is everyone’s business to call it out, that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, it has no respecter of age, race, class, and gender.”