one thousand words: Launch of domestic abuse photo project

28 Sep 2017
Press Releases

Scottish Women’s Aid and Zero Tolerance have today launched a new creative project in collaboration with survivors to show the reality of domestic abuse.  one thousand words is a collection of 15 powerful photos of models taken by acclaimed photographer and storyteller Laura Dodsworth based on the words and experiences of women who have lived through domestic abuse.

The images created are unique; contrary to most depictions of domestic abuse they do not show bruises, or physical violence. Inspired by Scotland’s new Domestic Abuse Bill, the charities say that this is a critical step forward in raising public awareness that domestic abuse is far more than physical violence. In releasing these images the survivors, charities and photographer hope that women will recognise their own experiences and seek the support that is available. (1)(2)

The images will be shared online, and there are plans for a future exhibition in Scotland.

On the importance of creating new images of domestic abuse, one survivor said:

“I spent a long time denying to myself I was actually being abused. It took me four years to recognise my situation.

“Bruises are the standard thing in photos of domestic abuse. There’s a theme that it looks like the man is getting angry and losing control, but often the abuser is very much in control. Abuse is also emotional, financial, verbal and being isolated. If photographs always show hitting or bruises it means that men who don’t hit absolve themselves of the label abuser because they don’t leave bruises. Also it makes people think that if a woman doesn’t have bruises she must be OK.”

Brenna Jessie, of Scottish Women’s Aid said:

“So often at Women’s Aid we hear women question whether their experience counts as abuse – they have no black eye, they have no burst lip.

“one thousand words is important, because we desperately want people to know that there is no hierarchy when it comes to abuse; whether it’s controlling behaviour, threats, humiliation, sexual or physical violence – it all ‘counts’ and it is all real abuse.”

Lydia House, of Zero Tolerance added:

“Domestic abuse affects women of all classes, ages and backgrounds but current stock images don’t reflect this. With  one thousand words publications have a real choice in the images they use to illustrate stories about domestic abuse; we hope to see a real step forward in the depth and diversity of women’s stories represented by the media.”


Photos by Laura Dodsworth -

Notes to Editors:
(1) These powerful images are available for all publications to use at no cost as stock photography for domestic abuse, coercive control and Scotland’s new Bill.
 Images should be shown with a small copyright notice acknowledging the original work’s authorship, as is typical for rights-managed stock photography:
© Copyright Laura Dodsworth

(2) People who feel scared or worried in their relationship are encouraged to call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline, which is open 24/7 on 0800 027 1234 or visit

Brenna: | 07387575163 | @scotwomensaid
Lydia: at | 07826558090 | @ZTScotland


Staying Safe

If you need immediate help contact Women's Aid, the police domestic abuse liaison officer or your local social work office.

You can also phone Scotland's domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234

Facts & Figures

On one day in Scotland in 2013, 809 women and 319 children and young people were supported by a Women's Aid group (SWA 2013)

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