02 July 2014
Do you have an image in your head of what makes the ‘typical’ domestic violence victim?
As in transpires, many of us do. We have an idea of what the perpetrator is like too. But the thing is, there’s not a typical victim – or a typical perpetrator. It can affect anyone. One in four women experiences domestic violence at some point in their life, and in any given year around 6-10% of women will suffer domestic violence. 44% of victims are involved in more than one incident; no other type of crime has a victimisation rate as high. That means if you hear, ‘it won’t happen again’, you might not want to believe that. Violence in teenage relationships is more common than you may think; and finding out where and how to get support is an important part of overcoming this.
Every week two women are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner.
This is such a widespread problem that we believe more people need to be made aware of. In 2009 Keira Knightley starred in a 120 second advertisement showing the brutal reality of domestic abuse. Did you see it? The chances are that you won’t have, because it was deemed too violent to appear on even post watershed television.
You can watch it below:
Without real examples, those who are subjected to this horrific abuse run the risk of simply becoming a statistics.
BBC Three have created a really important docudrama to show how domestic abuse can completely break someone, and how difficult it is to leave.
Murdered By My Boyfriend is the story of Ashley, who suffered four years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, before he eventually killed her. She is based on a real woman. The writer, Regina Moriarty, carried out extensive interviews with the real victim’s friends and family, and she paints a vivid picture of what she went through between meeting her boyfriend and her eventual death.
She met a man at a party when she was 17. He was loving. He told her she was beautiful. She was flattered, and she was taken in. The abuse didn’t start straight away, and the physical violence took even longer to manifest. There were early signs: he wanted to know who she was talking to all the time, he controlled what she wore and who she saw, he went through her receipts, demanding to know what she’d been doing with every single one.
This might be the story of one victim, but she stands for hundreds. It could even happen to you.
Have you ever thought about what you’d do in that situation, how you could help a friend if you suspected this was happening to them behind closed doors?
Not all abuse is physical; controlling behaviour can be just as damaging, and this might also lead on to violence further down the line. Your partner shouldn’t be telling you how to dress, forcing you do something which you don’t want to do, or using emotional manipulation.
We know that if can be incredibly difficult for women in abusive relationships to leave.
Fear and love can become entangled, and simply leaving the relationship doesn’t even guarantee that the violence will stop. Often planning to leave can put the victim in a particularly vulnerable position. You can learn how to cover your tracks online so that you can use the internet more safely.
This is an important issue that is affecting lots of young people. Make sure you know the signs and how to protect yourself.
For more information visit our website or for support ring our dedicated listening service for free on 0808 800 1037, or use the chat facility on our website. The police take domestic violence very seriously, and they can and will help and protect you. In an emergency you should dial 999. By speaking out about abuse rather than keeping quiet you take a lot of power from the abuser. It isn’t an easy cycle to break, but speaking out is one of the first steps, and we’re here to help you take it.