Happy Valentine’s Day
Today is a day of affection and love for many individuals across the globe, yet it is also a day of fear and darkness for many survivors of domestic violence. This #ValentinesDay, we would like to raise awareness of relationship #RedFlags and provide information on how to seek help if you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is. Together we can break the cycle of violence.
🚩 What are Relationship Red Flags?
Domestic violence is an issue on a magnitude that is hard to picture. Over one billion women, many men and many children experience domestic violence in their lifetime. It is prevalent across all communities, regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion. It is difficult, since many survivors have a tendency to blame themselves for their situation. How can we defend ourselves against abuse? What warning signals should we look out for in a relationship?
- Embarrassing or putting you down
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Any kind of physical contact that you don’t want
- Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
- Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
- Threatening to hurt or kill you
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
- Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready
Because every relationship is unique, domestic violence does not appear the same everywhere. But one thing that characterises the majority of abusive relationships is that the abusive partner engages in a wide range of behaviours in an effort to exert more dominance and control over their partners.
☑ How to do a Relationship Health Check?
If you suspect something may not be quite right in your relationship or you just generally want to do a health check on your relationship, here are some resources you can chose from:
- Chat to Sophia completely anonymously at any time: www.sophia.chat
- Take a self-questionnaire (PsychCentral): Are you in an abusive relationship?
- Complete an online assessment (Women’s Aid): Am I in an abusive relationship?
🦶 What steps can you take to get better?
The physical and psychological impacts of an abusive relationship can linger long after the survivor has left it. How do we cope with being a survivor of domestic violence? What steps can we take to regain our freedom to enjoy Valentine’s Day by rekindling our spirit of love and affection? Here are some steps for survivors to get through Valentine’s Day (Allure):
- Surround yourself with support: Seek out friends and family who make you feel validated and won’t encourage you to return to your abuser.
- Call a helpline: There are quite a few hotlines available for those who are or have experienced domestic abuse.
- Take self-defence classes: Not necessarily as a defence against a future incident of abuse, but as a way to make you feel stronger and less vulnerable. For more read our Self-Defence for Survivors of Domestic Violence.
- Turn to therapy: Talk with a therapist or a survivor group where you can be candid about the trauma you experienced
- Put your own needs first: Do whatever makes you feel good and at peace. It could be meditating or seeing a silly movie or reading that book you’ve been curious about.
For more information in how you can help survivors of domestic violence, do read our #WorldMentalHealthDay: How you can help survivors of domestic violence for a deeper grasp in being an #ActiveBystander as a light in the dark for the voiceless!
Remember: Love should never hurt.
You are not alone as help is readily available! We hear you. We are here for you. We believe you.
– Written by Simon Sundaraj Kühn for Spring ACT