Tag Archives: abuse

Houses of pain…

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I’ve recently been confronted with the spectre of domestic violence (DV) again.  Things had been pretty quiet on this front for a while, but then two events in the last couple of weeks brought it to the fore.

First, I was at a social event where someone who I know to be an abuser, both physically and mentally, was one of the guests.  They were laughing and joking with a lot of people, making sure they were seen by all, while steadily drinking all evening.  They then chose to dance with their partner to a song that was being played, and I was amazed when I realised they were dancing to Jump Around by House of Pain.  Given their history of inflicting permanent damage on a previous partner, how ironic was that?

Secondly, someone else that I know who had moved away from home to be with their partner returned suddenly, and had a serious injury which needed hospital treatment.  Only much later did we find out that their partner had inflicted the injury, deliberately.  That relationship has since ended and the person I know has moved away again, this time hopefully to rebuild their life without fear for their safety – and what a wonderful life it will be.

My big concern is that in both cases, the perpetrators are getting on with their lives as though they have done nothing wrong, as though their actions were normal. In both cases the attacker blamed their actions on the person they attacked. (I won’t use the phrase victim, because that denotes some sort of powerlessness, and they found power from somewhere.)  In both cases, the person who was assaulted found the strength to end the relationship and walk away.  That took real courage, real strength, and I am in awe of them both.

So how can the perpetrators be brought to justice?  In many cases, they can be very clever and not leave incriminating marks, no evidence. They can be very controlling so their target doesn’t have the opportunity to escape, or are too fearful of the consequences of trying to get out of the situation they’re in.  Charities like  www.refuge.org.uk in the UK can help, but it takes a lot of courage to contact them.

We (the general public) should not stand by and hope that someone else will step in to help. For all we know, we’re the only person who can hear or see what is going on, so don’t take the risk that you’re not.  If you know of a situation where domestic abuse is occurring, report your concerns to the police, or to the likes of Refuge – they will know the steps which can be taken to help – but only after checking with the person being abused that they are happy for you to do so.

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How bad things can start – Image #136

Dee recently published a great article over on Helping You Sparkle, and for today’s post I’d just ask you to head over there and have a read.

I’ll warn you now, it’s about Domestic Abuse, how it can start and the effect it can have. Punches don’t have to be thrown for someone to end up in hospital. Please take the time to read it, share it, and together let’s try to do something to stop the perpetrators.

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It can be seen from the image that this sort of behaviour can be cyclical, but what it doesn’t show is that it also escalates. First it may be verbal abuse, then it might be a push or a nudge, then it might be a “playful” slap, and before you know it punches and kicks, weapons etc. Once the escalation starts it’s unlikely to ever go back to a lesser level. The perpetrators rarely see their behaviour as wrong, and certainly don’t think of themselves as abusers.

Gripping stuff on BBC – Image #100

Who would have thought that a show such as Countryfile on the BBC tonight would have been so full of really interesting stories, and not one but two articles which were really inspiring and thought provoking.

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The first was linked to the controversial Archers story on Radio 4 about domestic violence. We heard how 2 women a week die in the UK as a result of domestic violence. We also heard that 7% of women and 3% of men in rural areas are subject to it at some point.  And then we heard that in England very little seems to be being done, that the Welsh Assembly is leading the way. The whole piece was put together very well and raised some really good points.

The second story was around the show’s Farmer of the Year competition. Julia Evans was diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years ago and given 5 years to live. She’d been farming for years and decided that in the time left to her she wanted to do something for others, so she now runs a care farm. Troubled youngsters come in for one of more days and take part in farming activities. One lad had become an apprentice forester, and a girl had got a job at local stables but came to help on the farm regularly too: both had said they’d have been in a lot of trouble by now. I was really touched by this item, and thought it was wonderful that everyone sat round the lunch table together: it was obvious to see the positive effect it had on the youngsters.

If you get the chance, I’d recommend watching this show…

When fiction is too close to truth…

Years ago I saw a film which exposed the darker side of life in a poor neighbourhood.  I recently watched it again, having first read the book, and it’s had a much bigger impact this time.  If you want some kind of insight into poverty, alcoholism, [domestic] violence, social norms and the difficulties for anyone trying to get out of the endless cycles which perpetuate the lifestyle, I really recommend Alan Duff’s Once Were Warriors to you.  But be warned, it’s very uncomfortable reading / viewing.

Continue reading When fiction is too close to truth…

Life hurts

A number of things have happened recently which have highlighted the fact that domestic abuse isn’t just physical – though unfortunately physical attacks appear to be on the increase.  Emotional / mental / psychological abuse can be just as damaging, though obviously not as visible.

Continue reading Life hurts

Who are we to judge?

Last night while browsing the blogsphere, I happened across an article that made me stop and think, for a long time. On the surface it’s all about judgement and people’s opinions, but dig a little deeper and it’s so much more.  Continue reading Who are we to judge?

Change brings questions…

On a previous blog entry, I was asked some interesting questions, and promised to try to answer them sometime. I think that time is now! So here goes:

What motivates people to change? 
I think there are probably a lot of reasons why you might want to change. For me, it was a slow realisation that the way I was spending my life was not making me happy or content. I was simply existing, going through the motions of living. I was stuck in a rut and I didn’t like it, and I realised that action was needed to get out of that rut. And importantly, I was the only one who could take that action – my happiness was (and is) my responsibility.

Can you change on your own or do you need the help of others? 
In my opinion, you are the only one who can actually change anything but – and I think this varies from person to person – you may find it helpful to have someone to talk to. Verbalising your thoughts and feelings – even just getting them down as words – can help clarify things in your head, and help you to prioritise your actions. You may not choose to hit “send” on the email or text you’ve written, or you may be walking in woods and just talking to the trees, but getting what’s in your head outside your body somehow is probably something that most of us would find helpful – it certainly worked for me.

Why do you think some people change and others apparently don’t? 
Making big changes takes a huge amount of commitment – it’s not something that you can do in half measures. Once you’re started on the road to change then very often there’s no going back. As with other aspects of life, there’s a fear of the unknown, a level of comfort in what you have and what you know. For example, you may be turning your life completely upside down, which will uproot everything and leave you having to make new friends in a new place: that’s a scary place to be when you’re young and full of energy, but when you get to my age it can have a paralysing effect and prevent you making the changes you want or need. Again, it’s down to you – what do you want most, what will make you happy, or are you prepared to stick with what you have?

Is there anything “spiritual” in your discoveries or has gaining knowledge of (for example) topics like domestic abuse been your biggest learning curve? 
I think it’s all been spiritual to some extent, but I’m not sure if that’s down to what I’ve done or a burgeoning awareness of the scary otherworld which I’m learning about. Since making the decision to change, I’ve certainly felt a lightening of my spirit, a sort of emotional release, and there’s definitely a reduction in the stress I feel. I’ve had a number of people tell me since then how much happier I seem, how much better I look, and I take that as affirmation (if any were needed) that my decisions were the right ones.

I’ve always thought that I’m not a particularly deep thinker, but finding out about things like domestic abuse, modern slavery etc – and the fact that it’s going on around me, involving people I know – is widening my horizons and making me think about these things in more detail. When I have spare moments I find myself thinking more about these things and I feel that I’m evolving into a more conscious, compassionate human being – and that’s actually making me feel happier. Of course, I’m not happy that people are having to suffer these things, and one of the things I’ve resolved to do as part of my new life is to try to help if I can – I just need to work out how to do that.

Was the change (eg the decision to eat differently) hard or easy for you? 
I think most of us know what is right and wrong about aspects of our lives. Some things can be easy to change – eating better just meant being more prepared, more organised, and making more effort rather than taking the easy way out ie ready meals and takeaways. It also helped that I had a new partner who was also committed to those ideals and so we support each other in this respect. 

Deciding to end a 25 year marriage, and nearly 30 years as a couple, was very difficult. I obviously had to think long and hard about it, about the pros and cons of such a drastic step. In the end, and after months of soul searching, I worked out that in order for me to be truly happy I had to make the change. As I mentioned above, this was one of the decisions which, once made, meant there was no way back and the life I knew would be gone forever.

What might motivate you to change again? 
I think that I’m still changing, still becoming the person I wanted to be. I’ve taken a few steps, and am definitely on the road to a more fulfilled, happy life. And I think that’s probably going to be an ongoing thing, for the rest of my days. I’m responsible for the changes in my head, in how I treat others – but I believe that there are things I can do which may help others. One of the reasons for uprooting my life was because I didn’t feel that I was helping anyone other than myself. I now have the opportunity to start making a difference to those who need my help, and I’m determined to do that. So I think the process of change will never finish, now it’s started, because I don’t think I’ll fully attain that goal. But I think I’ll be a happier person for trying to get there. 

Would you change anything about the change?
No, I don’t think so. It had to happen when it did because I needed all my previous life experiences to help me make the decisions I did. It was inevitable that it would cause hurt and upset for some, for a short while at least, but in the long run I think it’s one of the most positive, liberating things I’ve ever done. I hope that those who were hurt are able to move on and find their own true happiness, because I think that they were also unhappy in their lives and are now able to do the things they need to without me holding them back. But I’m glad that I made the decisions I did, and am happier than ever.