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16 October 2014

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Behind Closed Doors

By Sue Groves-Phillips
January 2005, Aberystwyth
A digital story from Capture Wales

Refugees in your own land

Even your closest friends and neighbours can become refugees needing shelter...

"Doors are important. They keep intruders out and those we love within. But behind some doors there is misery, fear and violence. It doesn't matter where your door leads, it can be to a palace or a high-rise flat. The door you live behind keeps your secrets.

At first our door was always open and friends and family called in. Then, little by little, the door began to close. I lived behind that door in misery, unable to open it, determined to make my marriage work.

We moved away from everyone we knew and lived behind a firmly locked door, the same door I was later thrown through and which was locked behind me, my children held on the inside. The police couldn't get through that door, but my mother did and she got my children out.

We escaped and lived behind a solid wooden door in a no man's land, where we found a new life. To us that door was our protection; outside it was our worst nightmare where our bogeyman had a familiar face. On the inside of that door we learned how to laugh, how to dance and how to live again. I still love that door even though I'm very thankful that I don't have to live behind it any more.

And now? Now our door is open once more; neighbours, friends and family all come through it. On both sides of this door we live in freedom. "

Sue Groves-Phillips

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live and work in Aberystwyth, where I settled after the events of my digital story. I studied in the University of Wales, Aberystwyth for a BSc in Economics and History and then for a MSc in Computer Science. I still work with computers today.

What's your story about?
The demise of my marriage and how we - my two daughters and I - rebuilt our lives afterwards. I have used doors as a metaphor to explain and illustrate our story.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
Our story is not unique and domestic violence is often a subject people are uncomfortable with. What I would like to get across is that it is happening everywhere right across society.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The whole experience has been wonderful. The help and support of the Capture Wales team made the ideas in my head come to life on the screen, so that I could tell my story.

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