If you are experiencing abuse from another it is important to recognise it and do what you can to act.
Abuse can take many forms; emotional, physical, financial, sexual, abuse towards elders and spiritual abuse; for example, attacking someone’s belief system.
Most commonly abuse occurs within the context of a relationship of some kind. This can be so difficult when you might care about that person or are reliant on them in some way. No one deserves to be abused and there is help available. There are many organisations out there to help, who are trained and can offer specific advice depending on your situation.
Firstly, it is crucial to recognise what is happening. This may even take time as it may not be clear at the beginning. But recognising if you’re feeling unsafe or controlled in some way is the first step to enabling it to stop. There are checklists out there to help identify abusive behaviour. This is not the only one, but women’s aid provides a useful checklist to identify if you might be experiencing abuse within a romantic relationship.
Do what you can to make yourself safe. If you are in immediate danger, then call the police and get their support to keep you safe. If it is a more chronic situation look at ways you can create safety for yourself. Leaving the situation is going to be important. Many people in abusive situations feel bonded with their abuser; this is very common and nothing to feel guilty about, but it can hinder the process of leaving. Notice if you’re excusing behaviour or returning to unacceptable circumstances. If there are children involved, it is also essential to safeguard them from abuse.
Healing from abuse can take time, depending on the situation. It is important to make sure you’re safe first and then tackle this. There are supportive organisations and talking therapies can help to process the trauma from having been a survivor of abuse. It is important to be compassionate to yourself; it may be difficult and take time to recover, but taking steps to support yourself will get you there in the long run.
For men experiencing domestic violence; Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – Please call 01823 334244 to speak to us confidentially – (mankind.org.uk)
For women;Home – Women’s Aid (womensaid.org.uk)
For victims of crime;Home – Victim and Witness Information
For people who have experienced sexual assault & rapeHome | Rape Crisis England & Wales
The national charity for childrenNSPCC | The UK children’s charity | NSPCC