My Week: Sheryl Gascoigne Former Wife Of Paul Gascoigne
Saturday 27 November 1999
I appear in The Sun, launching the Refuge awareness-raising campaign against domestic violence. The campaign is designed to bring domestic violence out into the open and dispel the myths surrounding the issue. I then go to film the Martin Bashir interview for the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, to be screened on Wednesday. This takes up most of the day.
It's very difficult talking about my own personal experience of domestic violence. I have to stop the filming four or five times because I become too emotional. Some of Martin's questions are tough, but I'm more than happy to answer them because I want the people at home to understand. It's exhausting.
I then go to my home in Hertfordshire to see my children, aged 13, 10 and three. I find out that Paul has served me, the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme and The Sun with an injunction forbidding me from talking about any allegations of domestic violence that are not already in the public domain. I don't sleep very well.
The Sun prints the story about the injunction. The whole of today is taken up with lots of faxes and telephone calls between The Sun, the lawyers and Martin Bashir - the injunction will affect the programme. My youngest, Regan, is recovering from a gastric flu bug, which he contracted on Saturday, and wants to be cuddled, so it's good that I'm home all day. I eventually collapse into bed and don't sleep too well again.
I take Mason, my 10-year-old son, to the dentist. There are calls all day about the injunction and how it will affect the Tonight programme. I'm scared about what will happen with the legal stuff. In the evening I take the children for a Chinese meal with my parents. We come home, I put Regan to bed, and we watch the programme. I've been worried about people's reaction, but I get calls straight afterwards saying it was fantastic and moving, and that I managed to get my point across even though the questions were quite difficult.
I wake up at 4.10am and can't get back to sleep. I leave the house at about 6.45 to go to London to be interviewed on the This Morning show by Richard and Judy. We discuss the reason women stay when they're being abused: because their confidence has been knocked out of them.
I come straight home and have lots of calls saying how well it went last night and this morning, which is fantastic. I'm told that the crisis line at Refuge was flooded with calls after the programme last night, and that the first time the lines became free was at 4.30 in the morning.
They even had men ringing saying how they had been affected as children by domestic violence. There were women crying, saying: "Can you believe she's done this to help people like me?" It makes me feel so humble, and makes all the soul-searching for the last few months over whether to do the programme worthwhile.
I take Regan to McDonald's. I walk in and four women immediately approach me and say: "My God, what a brilliant programme last night." One woman says she went through it five years ago and really relates to what I said. It's great to get that response. Then the manager comes out and says "fantastic". I'm told that the donations to Refuge are flooding in. I'm over the moon. The icing on the cake is the news that the National Lottery has awarded pounds 250,000 to the charity. It's superb.
There's a flood in the kitchen - the third in three weeks. I don't mind too much. Today has been a particularly special day for me.
In the morning, I'm interviewed and photographed at home by The Observer for an article about Refuge. I then spend some time with the children because, although I've been around during the week, my mind's been on the campaign. It's been an amazing week, one that I will never forget. It started with a lot of trepidation over whether I was doing the right thing. From then on it has been amazing to know that women out there are listening, and I know they are responding.
Refuge 24-hour national helpline: 0990 995443; donation line: 0171- 395 7700
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