What is domestic abuse?
Have you changed? Do you no longer feel you know who you are or what you like to do? Are you constantly on edge and feel like you are walking on eggs shells. Is nothing you do every right from the easiest of tasks to the decisions you make?
Are you often fearful but never 100% sure why or what you are fearful of? Do you feel that whatever negative things happen between you and your partner, that it’s you with the problem?
Do you feel like you are going crazy because you’ve been told that lots of things didn’t happen in the way you believed, because the rules keep changing or because the way they behave with you is completely different to how they are with everyone else?
If you ever had thoughts that you weren’t good enough, or something was wrong with you, or you were stupid or ugly – have those thoughts become worse? Do you feel as though your deepest secrets will be used against you if you don’t do what they want?
Have you started to feel guilty about doing things for yourself even though you know you’ve done nothing wrong? Do you feel exhausted like all your energy is focused on making your partner happy but that nothing you do ever achieves that?
Do you feel like you live on an emotional rollercoaster, have you said your partner is a Jekyll and Hyde character (even if just to yourself?)
This is the way that many people who have experienced domestic abuse have said they feel, domestic abuse is not just physical violence, many who experience domestic abuse will suffer no physical injuries.
Domestic Abuse is a pattern of behaviour used by a partner or ex-partner to get you to do what they want. Domestic abuse mostly happens to women and is carried out by men but it can happen in same sex relationships.
For some women who live with abuse there will be no scars, broken bones or bruises, however some women can end up at the doctors and some women may die.
Abuse doesn’t just happen once it can happen again and again with your partner/ex-partner doing different things to get you to do what they want. It usually gets worse over time.
For many people abusive and controlling behaviour continues even after the relationship has ended.
Women are more likely than men to experience abuse which happens more than 4 times, they are also more likely to experience more than one type of abuse (physical violence, sexual assault, stalking, controlling behaviour, emotional abuse), especially sexual violence.
Any women can experience domestic abuse regardless of where they come from, what their job is, how old they are, where they live, what religion they are or whether they have a disability or not. Some women may find it difficult to tell people what has happened and to get help because of their age, race, sexuality or disability.
It’s not always easy to see abusive behaviours for what they are. at the start of a relationship abusive partners can appear perfect.
Possessive and controlling behaviours can emerge and get worse as a relationship goes on. Many of those with experience of abuse have described these behaviours as developing in a drip, drip fashion, over a period of time and of initially feeling flattered by the attention they were getting, (quite often these possessive and jealous behaviours will be excused as being because the person loves you so much).
Some of the common warning signs of each type of abuse are set out below. Each type of abuse is as serious as the other, no one deserves to experience any kind of abuse. If you have concerns about your relationship, contact us.
- Calling you names, insulting you or continually putting you down
- Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive, accusing you of cheating
- Trying to stop you from seeing family or friends
- Wanting to know where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
- Demanding to know where you are every minute, putting rules in place in terms of how long you have to answer to calls or texts
- Trapping you in your home and preventing you from leaving
- Making threats to hurt you, your children or others you care about including pets
- Giving you the silent treatment
- Blaming you for the abuse or denying that it has happened
- Cheating on you
- Telling you what to wear, whether you can wear makeup or not
- Telling you that you can’t do anything right,
- Threatening that they will have the children taken from you if you leave,
- Telling you that you have no rights in this country
- Making you feel like a bad parent, telling the children not to listen to you
- Threatening to hurt themselves
- Stopping you having access to money or bank accounts
- Giving you money and making you tell them how you have spent it
- Stopping you from working or limiting the hours you can work
- Taking out debt in your name or making you take on debt for them
- Refusing to give you money towards household bills when they live with you
- Refusing to pay maintenance for children when the relationship has ended
- Watching your social media accounts i.e. keeping track of who likes your
posts, who messages you
- Sending you negative or insulting messages
- Using technology to keep an eye on you
- Sending you explicit pictures and demanding you send them in return
- Constantly texting you and making you feel you can’t be separated from your phone
- Insisting that you give them your passwords
Sexual Abuse & Coercion
- Calling you sexual names
- Pressuring you into having sex or performing sexual acts, by making you feel you owe them or through threats and force
- Hurting you with objects during sex
- Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
- Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
- Forcing you to watch pornography or to participate in the making of it
- Withholding contraception
- Threatening to share photos of you
- Pulling your hair, punching slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
- Stopping you from sleeping
- Controlling what you eat
- Hurting you with objects or weapons for example throwing the remote control at you, threatening you with scissors
- Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
- Harming your children or family