Especially when it is not physical?
As a victim of domestic violence, I breathe a sigh of relief as the government new guidelines are released this week. These new guidelines will serve as deterrent and perpetrators or would be perpetrators will now think twice before acting.
But most importantly, the updated guidelines will help protect the victims of domestic violence and help them move away from the perpetrators without fear or harmful consequences.
I welcome how these new guidelines take into accounts the full scope of abuse: abuse is not just physical. The government has introduced the first ever statutory definition of abuse to specifically include economic abuse as well as controlling and manipulative abuse.
It is particularly important to not forget that the victims of domestic violence are not just the adults in a relationship. It includes the children too. Whether they are directly harmed or they are merely spectators, these children are also victims of this heinous crime because they may bear the scars of this violence for the rest of their lives.
How do you recognize signs of domestic abuse especially when it is not physical?
The most important in a relationship: You’ve got to be able to be YOU, be yourself, be who YOU are! You should be able to:
- say what you want to say
- do what you want to do
- go where you want to go
- achieve what you want to achieve
If your partner moans or tries and stop any of these, he doesn’t allow you to be “YOU”, it is controlling and therefore could be considered as abuse.
If you can’t be yourself, who are you supposed to be anyway?
Other signs of abuse are:
- Your partner ends up getting his way all the time.
- They always say ‘You don’t really love me’ or variations of this sentence if they do not do what they want.
- They ignore what you want and how you feel.
- You don’t do things you’d like to do for fear of your partner’s reaction.
- You feel afraid of your partner or you think they may hurt you if you do something they don’t like.
- They take away what belongs to you or force you to stop doing something you like.
- You do not have access to your money.
- They restrict or decide how you spend your money.
- Most or all your money is spent on or by your partner.
- They go through your phone, bag and other private possessions.
- You don’t feel comfortable discussing important issues with your partner that affects one or both of you because you fear their reaction.
- They get aggressive or abusive when you are late home or when you do not answer their text or call.
- Your partner humiliates you in private or in public.
- They are always putting you down, calling you names and attacking your self-confidence.
- The people you socialize with are mostly his friends or family.
- They decide who you socialize with or force you to stop seeing your friends or family.
- They don’t believe you and you have to prove you are telling the truth.
- They are unhealthily possessive and you have to explain every action.
- They are paranoid or jealous and accuse you of things they have made up.
- They threaten to harm themselves so you will do what they want.
- They threaten to harm you so you will do what they want.
- They coerce, force or blackmail you to do things you don’t want to do.
- They use your children to blackmail you.
- They are violent and destroy your belongings or use violence to intimidate you even if the violence is not directed at you.
- They deliberately pick fights.
- They decide where you go and when.
- You are always evaluating what mood your partner is in to avoid altercations.
- They threaten to tell others personal detail in an attempt to control you.
- They threaten to interfere in your professional life to make you lose your job.
- You are constantly walking on egg shells in your own house. The only place where egg shells should be is around the egg.
What to do when you suspect you or someone you know are being abused but you are unsure because it is not physical.
Let this person know that you are there for them and support them while they contact your local domestic abuse organization or call the National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247.
Always get help, even if you are in doubt. Do not assume someone else is dealing with it because domestic abuse thrives on secrecy.
Christine Clayfield’s Bio
Christine Clayfield’s past holds much pain, but it did not stop her from changing her life and building the future she wanted. She endured over 20 years of cruelty, abuse, bullying in the hands of the nuns, her father and her first husband who beat her into a coma. ‘No Fourth River’, her novel, based on her life story is her way to let the world know that despite the pain of your past, YOU have the ability to change your future. After endless torment, Christine made it her mission to be so busy loving her life that she had no time for hate, regrets, negativity, worry or fear.
Her novel is about having the strength to choose, the strength to become who you want to be, regardless of your bad past. She is living proof of what somebody is capable of achieving when pushed beyond the extreme of extremes.