Early warning signs of domestic violence
While this is off topic and not money saving, I think this could help save a persons life and help men and women who are stuck in this situation.
3 women every week take their own life to escape domestic violence. I am one of those three, and I took a failed over-dose twice.
I have edited this post now to take out some of the more horrific details as my step son now uses the internet a lot for school and I am worried he comes across this post.
When someone says ‘I used to be/am in a violent relationship’ you think black eyes and broken bones, however that is not always the case.
This is the hardest post I will ever write because I have never spoken publicly about the domestic violence I suffered a number of years ago, but if this post can help at least one person get themselves to safety then I will be so glad I opened up about it.
The statistics surrounding domestic violence are quite shocking…
- Domestic violence will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime – Not enough people include men when talking about domestic violence.
- On average this leads to two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year
- Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report), however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police
- Has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
- Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (Shelter, 2002)
- In 2010 the Forced Marriage Unit responded to 1735 reports of possible Forced Marriages.
The early warning signs of domestic violence can include…
- Your partner will shower you with gifts to win your trust and make sure you know just how much you mean to them. This could be totally innocent but most abusers will go over-the-top and it seems quite possessive.
- They can become jealous or possessive. My partner was always asking ”who’s that?” if I got a text. If it was a male he would then ask ”well why is he texting you? You have me!” It made me feel guilty and I thought that it was my fault and maybe I shouldn’t have male friends when I’m in a relationship.
- Alienating you from friends and family. As I said above about the text messages, I’d feel guilty for talking to other people so I’d stop replying to their texts and cut contact with most people. The same would happen with family ”Why do you need to go and visit your parents? You could just stay here with me and watch a movie instead”.
- They want to know where you are every minute of the day ‘incase anything happens’. At first I mistook this for him caring but it slowly turned into stalking.
- They could slowly start criticising the way you look or act so you feel as though no one else would want you so you’re better off staying with them.
- They may humiliate you in front of others.
- They may insist on coming everywhere with you because they’ll miss you if you’re gone.
Not all domestic abuse is violent
- Emotional abuse – This is how domestic violence usually starts but it usually escalates into something much worse. Criticising you, putting you down, alienating you from friends and family, shouting at you then blaming you for their anger.
- Sexual abuse – This can include forced sex in marriage/relationship, forced sex with others, prostitution etc. Forced sex usually occurs after a rage of violence. I was often told that I needed to have sex with him to apologise for making him angry.
- Psychological – Threatening to kill you, loved ones, friends, pets, kidnapping your kids, destroying your property, playing mind games, blaming you for everything including your attacks and stalking.
- Physical abuse – Hitting, punching, kicking, twisting of arms, biting, burning, hitting you with objects etc.
Quite often, you can fall under many different categories of abuse. I suffered from all abuse categories above, it was always my fault. If I put his food on the plate in the wrong order, he would ask me random questions and if I didn’t know the answer he would humiliate and beat me, if I asked to go and visit my parents he would make sure I had a bruise so I wouldn’t want to go, if towels weren’t folded the way he liked that would start him off again, if the cushions weren’t on the sofa properly – such petty things. I was often kicked, punched, bitten, and much worse. He used to make me cower on the floor before he started beating me so he could kick me harder. I would have to let him have sex with me after the beatings to apologise for ‘my’ behaviour, one day I tried to push him off so he stamped on my face and dislocated my jaw. If you have seen any of my videos on Facebook you may notice my jaw goes to the side slightly when I talk and I still have trouble now with my jaw. The beatings were bad but the one thing I hated the most was when he would urinate on me telling me he was ‘too good to use the toilet’. I used to count my bruises and my worst count that I can remember was 32 at any one time.
If I had known the warning signs before I got into the relationship I would have left there and then when it started, but by the time it escalated and I realised what was happening I was too scared to leave. He told me he would come after me and kill me if I tried to leave, no one else would want me, all my friends now hated me because I have ignored them for too long.
I tried to avoid seeing family because they may notice the bruises, if I did visit them then I would wear thick make-up and put on a happy face so they didn’t suspect anything.
While he was at work one day I was allowed out to go and buy something for our tea, I bumped into an old family friend who was a family support worker. I broke down and told her everything that was happening and she took me to a Women’s Aid shelter. I started a programme with Women’s Aid which helped me get out of the situation and gave me some confidence back.
The course was fantastic because it made me realise that non of it had been my fault and I met other people who were in the same situation as me.
It took me a long time to even be alone in the same room with a man before, even going to the doctors/dentist/opticians was difficult if they were a man. I still have confidence issues and hate how I look because I was told for so long how ugly I was.
I managed to salvage a few friendships but unfortunately I was too embarrassed to explain to everyone why I hadn’t been in touch so I still don’t speak to many old friends.
I was lucky enough to meet Aaron a little while later. I was upfront with him and told him what I had suffered in the past and he was amazing. He helped me rebuild my trust and he is such an amazing man and we married 5 year ago.
I managed to break out of the situation but not everyone is lucky enough to escape.
Please, if you are in this situation, get out now. It won’t get any better – even if they promise they will change. If you suspect a friend is in this situation, try and get them help. Be careful how you do it because it could make their situation worse if their partner finds out but we must help put an end to domestic violence.
These are the best places to go to for help and support with domestic violence…
- Women’s aid – This website also tells you how to cover your tracks online so your partner won’t know you have been seeking help.
- Refuge – This website is similar to Women’s Aid and is full of helpful advice for victims as well as signs to look out for for yourself, family and friends.
- Contact the police. Call 101 if you’re going to be alone for a while (such as your partner at work) or if you’re in danger call 999. The police can arrest your partner and will refer you to Victim Support. Victim Support were fantastic with me, I was given counselling and my property was fitted with panic alarms incase my partner came back.
- Contact a solicitor and get an injunction.
There is a 24hr helpline 0808 2000 247
Please share this – It may save someones life.