A domestic abuse survivor who created a charity to support other victims from minority ethnic backgrounds has opened a new shop in High Wycombe to support those in the town's "big Afro-Caribbean population" who may be afraid to speak out.

Ruth Obasa moved to England from Nigeria over 25 years ago and, after experiencing domestic abuse in her own relationship, founded the charity Jewins Women2Women from her home in Nottingham - helping to shed light on abuse in ethnic minority cultures, something she feels can easily be "brushed under the carpet".

Ruth has many strings to her bow - she is also a minister of religion and a life and business coach - but it's likely her work with Jewins Women2Women that will have the most resounding impact beyond her individual reach.

It's something she's acutely aware of, and she's committed to expanding the charity as much as she can - with the services currently offered including pastoral support, mediation, employment and immigration help, personal development coaching and counselling, both in-person and online.

Ruth opened Jewins Women2Women's first African-product charity shop in Oxford back in 2022, but after deciding it was a "less viable" location than High Wycombe, she chose to relocate and start over this year.

The shop opened its doors in Desbox Unit 121-122 on East Richardson Street earlier this month, with an official ribbon cutting taking place today (March 30), complete with local officials including Mayor Paul Turner donning traditional African dress to mark the occasion. 

Bucks Free Press:

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She chose Wycombe for its "very big Afro-Caribbean population", but also for a more personal reason.

"We had a volunteer called Phillip who was from here and who died of domestic abuse. Bringing the shop here is in memory of him.

"Ethnic minority men don't speak out about this because they're afraid they'll be seen as weak - it's a culture of shame. Men find it harder than women because it's a very patriarchal culture, it's very deeply ingrained."

As a survivor herself, Ruth is acutely aware of the barriers both men and women face in coming forward about their experiences - it took her reaching the point of physical collapse before she could reckon with her own abuse - all of which makes her even more fiercely dedicated to helping others.

Bucks Free Press:

"My body collapsed and they revived me, then they discovered what had been going on. I remember my GP telling me, 'You've got two choices - you can die in this abuse, or you can take your two children and get out and be a point of light for others'."

The new charity shop is also unique in that it sells near-exclusively African products - to broaden shoppers' cultural understandings as well as generate funds for ongoing charitable work.

Ruth is looking for volunteers to help run the new charity shop, which will be open from Monday to Saturday, opening at 10am and closing at 3pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and at 6pm every other day.

If you’d like to get involved, contact Ruth by emailing  admin@jewinswomen2women.co.uk.