Every time we ask “why didn’t you just leave?”, we engage in victim-blaming.
Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.
Domestic violence is “Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.” (Source – Women’s Aid.)
MYTH: Domestic violence stops on separation or once the relationship ends
FACT: Women are at a higher risk of violence and of being killed after leaving violent partners . Domestic violence continues long after the relationship has ended – 76% of separated women suffer post-separation violence . It is one of the most significant causes of repeat homelessness and repeat victimisation. 79% of women leave their violent partner because the abuse is affecting their children or they fear for their children’s lives . (Source – Women’s Aid, UK.)
What are the signs of domestic violence?
- Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening
- Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
- Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.
- Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.
- Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
- Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.
- Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
- Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
- Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.
- Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.
(Source – Women’s Aid.)If you are in need of help please contact your local police, tell a friend, tell your family doctor – please don’t suffer in silence. Helpful Resources: Women’s Aid, The Hotline, Canadian Women’s Foundation, and HELPGUIDE.ORG.
- It is my (The Double Parent’s) opinion that we need more awareness of the abuse that happens AFTER women leave these relationships, and that we need more support for women during post-relationship abuse, and we need a way to stop these abusers who continue to abuse. I also believe that “the system” and society at large facilitate (knowingly or unknowingly) this continued abuse and that big changes are necessary – so that women who do escape abusive relationships can move on and live in peace and safety
- Click here to watch Violence and Silence.