The second piece of work I have been given since working with Refuge UK, was a presentation/interview about the effects abuse can have on victims’ credit scores (Economical Abuse), which is unfortunately something I know about all too well! In 2015 when I left my ex partner, I was unable to apply for a bank overdraft, or even a phone payment plan/upgrade, due to how terrible my credit had become, as a result of the financial abuse I had suffered. I was very pleased to be trusted with being a part of such a high profile research project, especially as I knew I would be bringing some unique/absurd reports of my own experiences! I had also given a hard hitting interview for Fabulous Magazine back in 2016, on the subject of financial abuse (as displayed in the photo accompanying this blog post). This was actually how Refuge “found” me in the first instance. The project was also in conjunction with the Co- Op bank, which made it seem all the more corporate!
I like going to the Refuge offices, as they have lovely views over London, plus there are lots of restaurants and coffee shops near by. I am confident with giving long and detailed presentations, as I used to do this a lot when I studied/worked in sales and business management, although for quite different topics! I am also used to presenting to audiences more recently, via the means of stand up comedy, which was something I had to take into account, to ensure I didn’t end up giving more of a “performance”, than a presentation, so to speak. I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t going there to entertain, but to inform!
Of course it would be near enough impossible for me to NOT include some humour in my work, despite the serious nature of the subject, and I think I included just the right amount, for my piece to classed a more “personal” account, rather than taking a more generic approach, and just reeling off facts etc. I am guessing that overall I did a good job, although one of the ladies in the meeting room said she could never have expected to walk out of such a serious discussion, laughing and smiling!! I was a bit worried I had done the thing I was aiming NOT to, and given my presentation as though it were a public performance, but the feedback I received was all positive, thankfully!
Just to clarify- By no means did I “not take the job seriously”. In fact, I took it even MORE seriously than I perhaps would roles that are more in my comfort zone, as I really wanted to make a good impression, which I have been informed that I certainly did. Also, many of my experiences of financial/economical abuse, were just downright bizarre, like my ex partner from my old career threatening to “fine” me, if I did things he considered “wrong”, which included treacherous acts of blasphemy, such as drinking water on public transport, or wanting to cuddle whilst watching tv. Another example, courtesy of my most recent abuser, was being under constant pressure and manipulation into handing over £750 a month for pants. You read that correctly. (See my other recent blog, “New House, New Beginnings- Once Again”, for the full story…. if you dare). With the above noted, I am sure you can see how it would be difficult to maintain a straight face and sombre attitude whilst describing something so weird, in so much detail!
I believe that Refuge also are close with the people at Avon catalogue, as I was given a “goody bag” from them, at the end of my presentation, which was a nice surprise. My meeting time ran over slightly, so I had to rush off quickly, as I had another interview to attend, this time for the animal charity Vauxhall City Farm, which I will write a whole other blog about, as I have recently qualified to be a volunteer there!
I have now undertaken two high profile research/spokesperson jobs for Refuge, and I have only been working with the company for a few months. Hopefully many more to come in 2020!