When someone is in a domestic abuse situation, one of the most common things to do is question yourself about if you are in fact experiencing abuse or being over-sensitive. For years I was told I was ‘looking at things the wrong way’ or that I should ‘stop over-reacting’ to events that I had started to think just weren’t right. Mr Who’s response was to put it back to me; when I refused to garden naked, (one of the few times I actually refused one of his demands) I was told that I was being a prude and overly sensitive; if I loved him (according to him) and wanted to make him happy, I would be do this tiny thing. I refused and he stopped speaking to me for days, but during this time I was expected to do all the cooking and cleaning as usual, continue to supply all my ‘wifely duties’ and then a few days later he just went on as if nothing had happened. I gardened while he was at work after that, but never while he was at home. This is definitely abuse, but he didn’t hit me or shout at me. He knew I felt like I had nobody to call, that he was the only person in my world; he told me he loved me and I really wanted to believe him, but love doesn’t demand you do things that make you feel ashamed or disrespected or worthless, love doesn’t expect you to comply with demands and then punish you when you don’t, that is what abuse does.
Abuse takes many forms, it isn’t only violence, and every form of abuse eats away a little bit more at the heart and soul of the victim. According to the Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WA) “…Domestic and family violence is when someone intentionally uses violence, threats, force or intimidation to control or manipulate a family member, partner or former partner…”
Threatening your children or threatening to take them away from you is domestic abuse.
Forcing you to have sex with them is domestic abuse.
Verbally abusive behaviour is domestic abuse (calling you stupid, whore, lazy, fat, all those lovely names).
Controlling your behaviour is domestic abuse.
Financial control can be a form of domestic abuse.
Dictating what clothes, make-up and hair style you have or wear is domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse, to me, is any behaviour by your significant other that is done to cause intimidation, control and manipulation of you for their benefit.
There are so many subversive ways that a person can be abused by their intimate partner that a lot of society will never see, unless we stand up and speak out. For me the time has finally come where I feel I have no choice but to stand up and fight for the right for people to feel safe in their own homes and relationships. Abuse is never ok and it is never the victims fault.
Take good care of yourselves, until next we speak.