It is all well and good to sit there and judge others who have been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, and to say ‘why don’t they just leave?’ If that is your stance, then you really need to stay a while. Hopefully this discussion will help someone to understand, just a little better.
Imagine someone you love dearly- be it your husband, wife, daughter, son, grandmother, whoever- as long as you love them deeply. Picture them in your mind for at least 5 seconds.
Now imagine that that person you love acted in an extremely inappropriate way, after a dispute. Say they yelled and screamed at you, perhaps they threw something or perhaps they even hit you. You are devastated and heart-broken.
They are instantly remorseful. They come to comfort you and apologise profusely for it. You start to think that perhaps what they did was not so bad. After all, you had been fighting.
Now, can you imagine leaving them immediately? Can you imagine packing your things, that very same day and walking away from them, for good?
If so, good for you- but for many, this would not be a possibility.
Our first instinct as human beings is to look at the good things in the people we love. We think about their positive aspects, because we have to, they are the people who are important to us. When domestic abuse initially begins, our first reaction is to say, ‘that behaviour is not normal for them, they won’t do it again. And if they do, I will change them back to the way they were before. I can help them, I can heal them and I can fix them.’
And so, the cycle begins. It all really depends on four things, as to how long one stays in an abusive relationship:
- How much you love the person
- How much is invested in the relationship
- How much you believe you deserve the abuse
- How much you believe that they can truly change
Please feel free to add more in the comments below if you feel that I have missed something. These ideas are not Gospel; they simply come from conversations and observations of people that are close to me- who have experienced abusive relationships.
The next important issue on the topic that I would like to bring up is the total lack of understanding and compassion that we have for males experiencing abuse- especially here in Australia. Abuse is not just physical- it can be mental, emotional or sexual. They are ALL just forms of hurt that can cause serious damage to a person, male or female.
The worst part for males is that they don’t talk about it and often internalise the pain. This is such a detrimental culture. We should be giving EVERYONE a platform from which to speak. So, it is up to us to make it acceptable for males to discuss their abuse. How? I have no idea. Maybe we could start by no longer calling men ‘pussies’ or ‘weak’ if they show emotions, other than anger.
Below is an excellent list from the Mayo Clinic of what to look out for. There are many things in this list that people DON’T consider. Nor do we realise how often it happens to men:
Mayo Clinic on Adult Health suggests that you could be experiencing domestic abuse if your partner:
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
- Prevents you from going to work or school
- Stops you from seeing family members or friends
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
- Assaults you while you’re sleeping, you’ve been drinking or you’re not paying attention to make up for a difference in strength
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for his or her violent behaviour or tells you that you deserve it
- Portrays the violence as mutual and consensual
This list is not for people to go looking, poking and prodding about in their perfectly good relationships- it is a way to assist those that are not so sure.
If you think you may be experiencing abuse, or perhaps you are pretty certain- I urge you to contact one of the professionals below.
Lastly, be a busy body! If you know someone who you think might be experiencing this- speak up! Don’t wait til it gets so bad that the damage is irreversible.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please make contact with someone below. Just have a little chat with them- there are no obligations.
Or perhaps you would simply like some more information?