Today was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It was a day for us to reflect; to show support for the 1 in 3 women who will be assaulted by a partner. It was a day which made me realise how embarrassed and ashamed I am to be a Sheffield United fan.
Two months ago, Sheffield United signed repeat woman beater Marlon King. There is no point in me going into depth about what King has done and why I loathe him so much, because I am sure that anyone reading this is well aware of my feelings. At first I vowed to stay away from the club, and then I thought, why the hell should I? Why should another woman miss out on something they love because of Marlon King being a violent thug? I've been to Bramall Lane twice since we signed Marlon King. Both times felt empty. Empty and soulless; that is the only way I can describe it. As I sat fixated on the Quick Quid advertising boards that have been plastered around the stadium, I felt nothing. Two months later, another Sheffield United player was charged with assault against a woman. When complaining to the club about King, myself and others were promised that he was sorry and he would be using his past to educate younger people to not make the same mistakes he did. Today, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, United haven't said a word. Not one peep. Something has gone in my relationship with United, and I really don't think I can get it back. I have a ticket for tomorrows game, and I've never wanted to go to a football match less in my life. The thought of never going again and missing the time I used to enjoy so much with my wonderful doting Dad truly breaks my heart. It's the last straw; the last chance to get whatever is missing back. I don't have high hopes.
All hope wasn't lost today, though. 1120 miles away, in the Catalonian capital, IDEVAW was recgonised. It may have only been through Twitter, but it was enough to give me the feeling of pride that I used to feel about my English football club.
I'm sure that I'll be branded a glory supporter that has abandoned my struggling League One team for the most successful team of the past 5 years. But honestly, I am absolutely fine with that. I'll sleep perfectly well at night knowing that my full support is going to a group of men who believe that me and my fellow lasses are 'the most important thing in the world', rather than worthless punch bags.
Thanks for reading.
Fellow Blade and Sky Sports News presenter Charlie Webster is running 250 miles in 7 days in support of Women's Aid, the domestic violence charity. It's a truly incredible thing that she is doing, and you can sponsor her here: http://www.justgiving.com/charliesbigchallenge