The metaphor of ‘moving on’ is more often used in policy and practice responses to domestic violence than thinking about the actual journeys of women and children moving all around the country.
Women often experience their literal journeys as unsettling and disorientating; and therefore feel that they will not really know where they are going with their lives until they can stop literally going places.
“I was just feeling like – you still don’t know where you are going, what you are doing, you know. I was just – until before I was like – I don’t know what I’m doing; you know you feel embarrassed sometimes – moving all your stuff, you know; and with children and all that. It was like – oh, what am I doing, what am I doing? Where am I going? It’s not easy. You don’t know really – it’s only like that I left but I don’t know where I’m going.”
[Julien Rosa – age 24 with 3 and 7 year old boys]
They feel that they need to stop moving, to be able to get their lives back on course.
“In a way I feel quite drained and really tired; I can’t wait to just get in to a new place and just sit – not physically, but mentally. To be able to just –[sigh]- it’s done; and just wake up and be all like – this is it – I’m going, I’m moving – not just plodding, plodding, plodding.”
[Louise – age 28, with 7 year old girl]
All the moving means that women feel stuck – that their lives have been put on hold.
“I just think – where would I be now if I hadn’t moved – where would I be? Because I’ve moved so many times – years have had to be put on hold because of it – and I didn’t want to start life this late. Like going to college and things like that – it should have been done a long time ago.”
[Jenny – age 21, with a 3 year old girl]
It is when they finally become more settled that they feel they are able to start ‘moving on’.
“I’ve just been so lucky really – really have. It’s just that – after years of hell – all of a sudden I’m in this place – and I don’t mean the flat – I mean this wonderful place; and it just feels amazing. And I just think – feeling like that – helps you then to move on with other things as well.”
[Helen – age 52 with 3 adult children]