Disclaimer: None of what I say is definite it varies case to case. I can only speak of my personal experiences.
Domestic Violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, intimate partner violence, battering or family violence, is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.
Domestic Abuse can come in many forms, the five types are: physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and economic (financial). It can also include spiritual abuse which is belittling a person’s beliefs.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone: female, male, young, or old.
Domestic abuse is a scary thought, and it can be down right terrifying to the person living it. It can be draining, traumatizing and seemingly endless. Many times you are constantly making excuses for your abuser whether to yourself or to others. Or you believe that they’re just struggling and you can help them, that you are the only one who can fix them. It can be hard to imagine that you can’t: help this person, get back the person you fell for before the abuse started, make things better and have a healthy and happy relationship.
You try to justify that the abuse only happens when they had a bad day or only once in a while, it’s not that bad – it could be worse. Your partner had a rough day at work, they just failed a test, they got laid off, or it only happens when they’re drunk. It’s a vicious circle of being abused and justifying your partners actions, whether with your reasoning or the reasons they feed you. The excuses, the countless reasons, they all add up until you could probably write a novel with all the justification given for their actions. For every action there’s a reason and whether consciously or subconsciously you give or accept the reason for the action.
You justify their actions believing you deserved it, you brought it upon yourself. They hit you and yell demeaning, hurtful things at you; but that’s ok you didn’t do what they asked of you. You’re forbidden from seeing your friends or family because you don’t tell them everything you do (how can they trust you if you don’t give them a minute by minute run through) or you stay out too long. You hug a friend of an opposite sex, or look or talk to anyone of the opposite sex, that’s punishable, how can you be trusted to be faithful. You dress or act not exactly as they want you to, they don’t like it, you did wrong by them and you deserve what happened. You buy things they see as petty and unnecessary, how can you be trusted to manage your own money.
The first time your partner abused you they apologize and promise they will not do so again, you believe them. You tell your partner that you forgive them, and for a while it may not happen again. But one day they hit you or demean you (use any form of abuse really) again, and you wonder why you believed them the first time that they were truly sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. Your partner apologizes again, giving another reason for why it happened and maybe they promise again that it was the last time, they care for you and it hurts them just as much as you if not more. Or they tell you that you deserved it for something you did and tell you that they were really angry and you crossed a line. Maybe you forgive them again, holding on to the belief that what they are saying is true. However they don’t stay true to their words it happens again and again. Maybe the abuse is widely spread out a year between the first two, a couple months, a month, weeks or days; but it starts becoming more frequent with even more excuses. The abuse gets worse, you start looking over your shoulder, start isolating yourself and living in fear of your partner. You are probably still holding on to the happy memories, how great they can be, how they used to be; they are still that person just troubled. Maybe you keep forgiving them, maybe you want out. Your partner may threaten you with what they will do if you tell someone, if you try to leave them, if someone finds out.. and that just adds to your fear.
I think it’s important for the victim of domestic abuse to remember the excuses made for their partners actions, the justification either of you give does not make your partners actions alright. That you do not and never did deserve how you were treated, and that it’s not your job to ‘fix’ them. That the abuse you are/were put through is not your fault and there is no reason for you to have been treated like that. That all the apologies and jestures can not make up for your partners actions. Whether you decide to stay or not should not be up to your partner. That you should not put or keep yourself in a situation that is harmful to yourself. That there is always a way out, and there is help. Remember that there is no reason to be ashamed of being abused, that you can reach out to get help to recover.
Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay Safe.
Marie Olsson xx
Helpline 24/7 (VictimLink) (BC, Canada)
Surrey Woman’s Center: http://www.surreywomenscentre.ca/
(Surrey, BC, Canada)