“My Mother’s Cupboards and My Father’s Words”

I was a little bit stuck with my Project 1 Activism but I knew that speaking to my tutor will put me back on track. It prompt me to do more research which always works. I have chosen to focus on domestic violence and the psychological impact it has on women. I was guided to focus on the word “domestic” and “violence”. When you think about domestic you can associate it with home and home with a place where you feel safe. When you are violated in your own home there is no escape for you and no sense of security. That is when women become trapped and the abuse continues until it has tragic end.

As an inspiration I have looked at the book called “My Mother’s Cupboards and My Father’s Words” created by Anna Fox, a British documentary photographer.

Colour photographs of my mother’s tidy cupboards together with excerpts from my father’s rantings. An unexpectedly wicked narrative exploring a claustrophobic relationship.

“She should be fried in hot oil”

When you live with someone and hear offensive words like this you can start doubting yourself and lose self worth. This is a psychological abuse that at first glance sounds ridiculous and funny to us but the person who is subjected to this for years can be deeply affected regardless of how strong you think you they are.

“I’m going to tear your mother to shreds with an oyster knife”

What it makes me feel like is the women trying to keep the harmony in the house by keeping it tidy knowing well that the relationship is toxic and atmosphere in the house is far from balanced. If someone came to visit they would have never suspected any domestic issues. In many cases women try to act like there is nothing wrong as it seems easier than facing the problems or they are simply too scared to do it.

“I’ll cut your bum off and serve it in slices, like raw ham”

One thing that comes to my mind is that person is not mentally stable. There is definitely the element of humiliation and intimidation he is trying to impose. When you are in the relationship is hard to recognise straight away when the line was crossed and partners lose respect for each other letting the abuse progress from verbal to physical. Some women let their partner’s get away with more and learn to accept certain behaviour. The last two pictures can be recognised as threats but the receiver may not be able to see it that way at the time.

I have read an article about coercive control which is the emotional and psychological abuse of a partner, through threats and restrictions, as well as physical violence. Domestic violence charity Women’s Aid simply explains the signs of the emotional abuse.

  • controlling partner’s social life, what they were, how they speak, what they say, it can also be financial, not wanting partner to go out or enjoy new things
  • being scared of your partner, fear of their reaction, worried about your behaviour and his reaction to it
  • no equality, not accepting partner’s needs, no consideration for partner’s feelings
  • “gas lighting” when partner exhibits abusive, violent behaviour and then pretends it did’t happen
  • partner not recognising your emotions and not willing to work on improving their behaviour when causing upset
  • verbal abuse when partner puts you down for the way you look, manipulation

Featured image: “Country Girls”

For more of Anna Fox’s work you can visit:



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