What is Domestic Abuse?

The government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological

  • physical

  • sexual

  • financial

  • emotional

Abuse can take many forms. The one thing to remember is ‘how do I feel?’ If it feels wrong and uncomfortable, then that isn’t right. We shouldn’t live in fear of our partner (or family member), wondering what will happen next, wondering if (s)he will be happy with us today.

The abuser will normally blame anything other than themselves for what has happened: ‘it’s the drink; my work; stress etc’ these are excuses! It’s all about control and they use many ways to control us. By controlling they begin to isolate us, deprive us of our needs and try to make us dependent on them, checking up on us all the time, sometimes asking for photographic evidence of where we are.

Threats, assaults, humiliation and intimidation are used to harm, punish or frighten their victim; us. Does loving someone mean we have to always be there doing what they want us to do? Or are we able to pursue our own interests as well as give time to our partner?