One of the most distressing things about being a survivor of domestic abuse is, dealing with other peoples attitudes towards the crime. There are so many myths surrounding domestic abuse, often many putting the ouns on the victim and not focusing on the root cause, the perpetrator.
Domestic abuse happens because perpetrators choose to abuse, no one chooses to be a victim. There are never any excuses to abuse and their is no justification for abusive behaviour.
You can hear my story by clicking on the link below.
Myth: If it was that bad, you would leave
The amount of times people have asked me, why didn’t you just leave infuriates me completely because not only are they minimising the abuse I suffered but they are also insinuating that I could easy control the situation.
Domestic abuse is all about power and control, yet society is still under the illusion that it starts with a black eye or a slap when in fact it starts with subtle controlling behaviour. I was isolated from family and friends at the honeymoon period of our relationship, when I thought he wanted to spend time with me, I didn’t know until it was too late that he was taking me away from my support network. So when the physical abuse started I had no one to confide in.
There was so many reasons I stayed:-
- I loved him, I wanted to be the one to change him, I wanted him to be the reason he change
- I was scared of him
- I had no safe place to go
- I had no money
- He wore me down physically and psychologically, I had no self esteem or confidence
- He verbally threatened me
I did leave, I left many times but I always went back because he promised to change, he told me he loved me, he told me he wouldn’t hurt me again. I loved him, I believed him, so I went back time and time again in the hope that he would change but he never did. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never experienced domestic abuse but the abuse doesn’t start as soon as you meet your perpetrator and when I met him, I loved him, I thought he loved me.
Myth: It only happens in poor families on council estates
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries, it happens regardless of age, sex, gender.
Since 2009 and setting up my own online support group, I have had the pleasure of meeting of so many survivors many of whom are professional people.
Myth: Alcohol and drugs make perpetrators abuse
Domestic abuse is about power and control, with the perpetrator always being in control and knowing exactly what they are doing. The only reason domestic abuse happens is because perpetrators choose to abuse, no one chooses to be a victim.
A perpetrator will blame everything around them as an excuse for their behaviour, they never take responsibility for their actions. Alcohol, drugs, a poor childhood, a bad relationship are excuses to deny their behaviour.
Myth: Perpetrators grow up in violent homes
Some perpetrators are brought up in violent homes and often mirror the behaviour that they see in the home. Perpetrators who blame their childhood experiences avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
Myth: Perpetrators have a mental illness
Perpetrators are always in control, this is the most important thing to understand when talking about domestic abuse, they thrive on being in control. It’s also important to understand that if perpetrators did have mental illness they would behave the same way toward everyone in their life, not just their victim.
Myth: A perpetrator loses their temper, that’s all
Perpetrators are very much in control, they choose not to mark their victims face so no one can see the marks, this demonstrates that they are very aware of what they are doing.
When a perpetrator psychologically abuse their partner it is very rare that they show anger or even raise their voice, again showing they they are completely in control of what they are doing and knowing what impact it will have on their victim.
Myth: Perpetrators only hit their victims because they are under stress
This is a factor, not a cause and many perpetrators who are stressed are not abusive. Blaming stress for their behaviour is, again, minimising and trying to justify their actions.
Myth: Domestic abuse is a private matter, you shouldn’t get involved
Domestic abuse is a crime and anyone who thinks their neighbour, family or friend is a victim of domestic abuse should report this anonymously. No one should be a bystander and stand by watching someone experience domestic abuse.
We are all effected by domestic abuse and we all have a responsibility to speak out against it.
I shared my story on Broadcaster Charlie Webster’s podcast, Undiscussable to educate society about domestic abuse and encourage people to keep the conversation going surrounding this complex crime. Victims experiencing domestic abuse don’t have a voice of their own so we have to be a voice for them.
When I was a victim, I felt I was the only one going through this and felt as though I was completely alone, which is why it’s important to me to raise domestic abuse awareness for all. Knowledge is power and without awareness victims of domestic abuse won’t even know that they are in an abusive relationship.
Please take the time to visit Broadcaster Charlie Websters website https://charliewebster.com/undiscussable and listen to the Undiscussable podcast which gives a voice to the voiceless. It is a great starting point to make domestic abuse discussable.
We have to be realistic and talk about domestic abuse because it’s happening right now, with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing domestic abuse at some point during their lifetime. It’s happening right now. To people we know, to family, friends and people we work with.
Together, we need to implement change where domestic abuse is concerned and we can do that by talking about it.
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