What Is It?
Sadly, Domestic Violence occurs all too frequently. It can range from pushing and shoving your partner, making threats, to actual assault. Domestic Violence increases in intensity over time, the more you tolerate the worse it gets. Acceptance of abuse fuels the abuser’s anger, as does fighting back, smiling, looking at him/her, in fact anything you do can set the abuser off, and it is always your fault. If you are in one of these relationships there is only one thing to do – GET OUT!
What Can You Do?
Often people tolerate abuse for years, becoming almost institutionalised and accustomed to their misery. The first step to breaking the cycle is to tell someone. I knew a woman whose husband broke her jaw and knocked her front teeth out and she told everyone she had been in a car accident. This was not a one-off and everyone knew she was lying but she thought she was covering up her humiliation and misery. Such behaviour colludes with the abuser, and makes it harder still to get out of the relationship.
So, tell someone. It’s not as hard as you think and they have probably guessed what’s going on anyway.
Tell the Police. If there is a history of violence in your relationship they will make a report and be alert for the next time you call. They cannot prosecute someone unless you contact them when the abuse is occurring or soon after, but the background is useful for them to know and will ensure they take your call seriously if the abuse happens again.
The Police have Domestic Violence Officers, whose job it is to offer victims support and refer them to agencies, such as http://refuge.org.uk who can help.
The average number of attacks people tolerate before contacting the Police is 35. What beating are you on?
The next time your partner becomes abusive tell him/her that you will call the Police. This change from victim role may surprise your partner and may be enough to stop the threats and or attacks. If it is not call the Police. If you are in imminent danger dial 999. This means if you think your partner is about to use violence against you. If the abuse stops at threats, call the local police number and file a complaint. Your partner will then be arrested, and if there is sufficient evidence charged. Support the Police and Crown Prosecution Service in any charges they make.
The Police will probably recommend that you take a civil action against your partner, known as a Non-Molestation Order and/or an Occupation Order. A Non-Molestation Order will have a Power of Arrest attached, and an Occupation Order may have one also. This involves instructing a solicitor and going to Court at least twice and is expensive unless you qualify for legal aid. This may not be necessary if your partner is on Police Bail, but if they have released him/her without charge you may need the protection of an injunction.
If you haven’t already done so, take steps to end the relationship. People don’t change, not without serious rehabilitation and/or counselling, and abusers rarely accept responsibility for their actions.
The Charm Syndrome
Abusive people can be very charming, that’s what attracted you in the first place. The outside world may regard you as very lucky to have such a great partner, your partner may suggest you are mad if you say you want out of the relationship and you may start to believe it. There is an excellent book for women in this situation (men are victims of abuse too but not on the same scale). This book is written by Sandra Horley, the Chief Executive of Refuge and is called “POWER AND CONTROL Why Charming Men Can Make Dangerous Lovers”.
A Final Word On Personal Safety
More woman are killed by lovers than strangers. One woman a week is killed in Britain by a lover or an ex-partner. If you are in a violent relationship think of it as an airplane that’s about to crash. You are not the pilot and there is nothing you can do to stop it. If you try to collect your hand luggage you will die. Get out while you still can!