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Nicola Harwin CBE

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Does Receiving a Bouquet of Roses This Valentine's Day Mean That Your Partner Really Loves You?

Posted: 14/02/2012 00:00

It's an interesting question. It's certainly an annual tradition, and yes, it's a highly commercial enterprise, but how much does buying roses, chocolates, wine, cuddly toys etc really show that you love someone and that you really care?

Most of us enjoy both giving and receiving romantic gestures, and because the idea of romance is at the heart of Valentine's Day, we join in. Why not have a single day of the year to really celebrate love and have an excuse to do something special for those we care about?

But unfortunately, for half a million women in the UK, Valentine's Day is no different to any of the other 364 days in the calendar. It's simply another day living in fear of their partner. Even if they are given flowers or chocolates...

I don't wish to ruin the magic of the occasion, but for so many women 'magic' could not be further from the reality. What most people do not realise is that violent and abusive relationships usually do not start with violence, but often with gifts and flowers - all of the things we associate with romance and Valentine's Day. Being told you are 'the one', having someone treating you a little bit possessively, can be flattering at the start of a relationship. But sadly, in abusive relationships, this can turn into unreasonable jealousy and constant controlling behaviour, which, despite the token gifts that are often still given, leaves many women (and their children) feeling scared and unsafe in their own homes.

At Women's Aid, we don't want to take the fun out of Valentine's Day - it can be a wonderful occasion! But we believe that love and relationships should be based on equality and respect - not just on one day, but on all 365 days of the year.

So this Valentine's Day, we paired up with Grey London to offer something a bit different. We thought, instead of roses, wouldn't it be nicer to give your loved one something that would really mean a lot, because you are showing that you believe in truly loving relationships that make you both feel good all year round.

Our idea is the 'Cabinet of Dreams' - a virtual charity shop from a bygone era, brimming with a collection of romantic delights. We brought in nine London artists to imagine a set of similar ideals and craft beautiful miniature 'money can't buy' gifts.

We're challenging people to show it really is the thought that counts. By making a donation to Women's Aid through 'buying' one of our gifts, it helps us raise vital funds for our lifesaving services. As little as £2 can make a big difference, and it's as simple as sending a text message to 70007. Your loved one will then receive the virtual gift, a heartfelt message and image of the artwork to their phone.

One in four women are affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. Even though only a quarter of women report this, the police get one call every minute... and two women are killed every week in the UK.

So this is your chance to show you really care this Valentine's Day, and really make a difference - not just to one person but to many lives - by sending something truly special!

To find out more, visit us at www.cabinetofdreams.co.uk, or check out our blog.

 

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