By Madelaine Hunter
My experience comes from being in a 10 year emotionally abusive relationship. The type of relationship where (in my case) the guy is ‘quite strict’ he ‘likes things a certain way’ he ‘gets upset if he hasn’t got what he wants’ and the outcome of that is glaring looks, bad vibes, intimidating behaviour and telling me what a bad person I am.
These relationships are far too common and could be happening in your very house (click here if you're in the UK and think this may be you) on your street, with your workmates, family and or friends. I know it sounds pretty bleak however Domestic Abuse is one of those horrible things that, no matter how much we put our head in the sand, it is unlikely to go away.
I get so excited when the 16 days of Activism White Ribbon campaigns come around and even when the issue pops up in the news because I believe it makes it real for people. I feel I can say “Hey! Look it’s happening to other people, it does exist and it is horrible”.
I only understood that I was in an abusive relationship when I reported the 2nd of the two assaults to the Police and detailed the behaviour I had experienced over the last 10 years. I didn’t understand the behaviour I was experiencing was abuse, the looks and smashing holes in the doors. threatening the children and the ultimate threat of suicide if I left.
Emotional harm isn’t visible to the naked eye, it can’t be documented, it can’t be picked up by someone as a black eye or broken arm would be. It sits on your mind and erodes your self-belief, confidence and understanding that the situation you are in is unhealthy.
I have been campaigning for over a year now after ‘coming out’ as ‘survivor’ of Domestic Abuse. I believe that women should be educated on the ever evolving signs and effects of abuse in whatever form; physical, emotional, financial, sexual and psychological. Society should be ready to help those in need, listen, support and importantly not judge the women who find it hard to leave. Their battle is only just beginning and they will need all the help they can get.