The Importance of Employers in the Lives of Victims of Domestic Violence
Fiona Bowman is a courageous, and dedicated Facilities Manager, and anti-violence campaigner. She has devoted her time out of office to highlighting the significant role of employers in the lives of employees unfortunate enough to be ensnared in situations of domestic violence. Alongside consciousness-raising work for Government and Local Government, charities and shelters such as Refuge, Bowman advocates the Risk Assessment of Domestic Violence victims, and the creation of Domestic Violence platforms in workplaces under current Health and Safety at Work regulations.
Bowman has been on a private campaign for the rights of women and men in domestically abusive situations since 1985, when she was assisted by her employer at Standard Chartered Bank, Edinburgh, to flee an abusive relationship. Bowman later went public with her endeavours and is now encouraging risk assessments of Domestic Violence victims. She volunteers her spare time to a variety of services and causes, and used her position as Interim Head of Facilities to assist the launch of local policy in the London Borough of Croydon. Bowman’s harrowing personal story was the instigator for her current actions, and her belief that if she can help one individual, she will have made an impact.
Over thirty years ago, it was Bowman’s life that was saved by her employer when she was admitted to the Head Injuries Unit of an Edinburgh Hospital following an assault by her then husband. Bowman met her former partner in Scotland at the age of seventeen. The domestic abuse to which Bowman was subject intensified over time, and their relationship culminated in Bowman’s battery at the age of twenty one. After being admitted, and in possession of the key to the bank branch, the hospital phoned her employer. After witnessing the extent of her injuries, she reassured Bowman she would keep her job and offered to facilitate her departure from the relationship. Bowman went back for three months, before finally leaving to death threats, and relocated to the South of England.
Through several name changes and changes of location, Bowman has made steady leaps in her career and manifested her role as Facilities Manager as a means of empowerment, and a passage into a better future. In her spare time, Bowman started writing an account of her ordeal and searched for a publisher, leading to a radio interview and later campaigning through mentorship, interviews, public addresses, and fundraising.
It was when she was entered into a BIFM award in the Societal Value Category and reached interview stage that she called upon the services of CreativeConnection to assist her in the creation of a storyboard to display at interview. Bowman found that in this circumstance, storyboarding would to be a more engaging and effective method of communication than traditional power-point. Bowman’s objectives were to illustratively demonstrate the numerous ways and mediums she has been expressing her anti-violence message and workplace programme, and example how she positively impacts society through her campaign actions. Additionally, it was required of her to estimate the amount of people reached by her campaigning.
CreativeConnection’s approach to Bowman’s brief was to create a staccato, block style storyboard with bright, easily identifiable icons to represent Bowman’s charity work, and publicity measures. Storyboards by CreativeConnection can be useful to simplify complex ideas or actions by paring down given information to the essence of the narrative at its core with a show rather than tell ethos. CreativeConnection’s experienced storyboard artists are consummate at narrative arrangement and combinations of linear, and non-linear thinking. In this instance, attention was applied both to the details of individual image blocks and the overall picture, with the bold ‘Societal Impact’ displayed across. Bowman’s personal story has, from some perspectives, been one with aspects of trauma, demanding puzzling together, and her professional story wide ranging, thus requiring simplification into effortlessly incorporable infographics. Block pieces exemplified the most necessary and essential out of a diverse range of endeavours. In one image, the artist sensitively illustrated an aspect of domestic violence challenging to speak of, or unspeakable; the physical injuries sustained. In another image, we are reassured by the sight of women and men with open, non-violent body language engaging as a group in a constructive and potentially enlightening boardroom setting.
Storyboards can be helpful when seeking to represent events that in hindsight seemed inconsecutive, and drawing out an overarching picture. They can also be powerful aids to finding meaning in trauma as client and artist co-create scenes which assist the client to navigate treacherous emotional geography and find their place in a present which is safer. Through Bowman’s work with CreativeConnection, the storyboard artist created two evocative and accurate storyboards comprised of smaller images Bowman was able to take to the judges and use as an aid to facilitating the sharing of her unique, selfless, and inspiring humanitarian endeavours.