Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Who gets abused?

Not you, right? Not your friends? Nobody you know is that stupid. Nobody you know is the 'type' to be victims of abuse, right? 

Only saps get abused. Only some wet, wimp of a girl would let her boyfriend hit her and not hit him right back and get the hell out of there. Right?


I remember talking about it, with my friends when we were teenagers. I remember how adamant we all were that we would never be so STUPID or put up with that kind of shit. That we'd turn on our heels and leave, and destroy that guy in the process. 

We were way too strong, way too fabulous, way too smart to fall for the nonsense that brings on an abusive relationship. We also believed that all abusive relationships were when your boyfriend beat you up and you cried and begged him not to.

We all watched Eastenders. We all saw that nasty Trevor beating up poor Little Mo, we all cheered when she got that iron on him, we all spent many an hour saying "silly bint, she needs to just boot him out" and not once did we understand the insipid, slow burning, poisonous rot that comes before the first punch ever landed. None of us knew. 

I blogged a few days ago about domestic abuse - not violence, ABUSE, and the destruction it brings to your soul, your mind and your life. 

I want to expand on that by talking about WHO gets abused, and how. 

So. Who gets abused? What type of person? What 'qualifications' do you need for an abuser to pick you out and follow that Eastenders script?

The thing is - it's anyone. Everyone. All of us. 

You, me, the boy next door, your best friend, that kid you hated at school, your cousin, that old lady in the corner shop. It could be any of them. It could be all of them. 

Strong or weak, brave or not, tall, short, male, female, gay, straight, kind, cruel, whatever. All and any of the people that you see every day could be abused. 

The campaigns I've seen most recently are focusing on teenagers - a terrifyingly high percentage of teenagers are or have been in abusive relationships, and this needs to change and be challenged with education and understanding before that figure grows even higher. 

Over a quarter of teenagers have been in a relationship that has been abusive - whether that is violence or sexual abuse, manipulation or mental abuse. 

Those teenagers aren't just silly little girls. They are from all backgrounds, all religions, all races, all levels of education and income, all kinds of lifestyles. 

They also aren't just girls. They are boys, they are the jocks and the nerds, they are the smart kids, the bottom sets, the gay kids and the straight ones. 

Adult or teen these facts are the same. ANYONE could become a victim. 

In fact I believe that the more adamant that you are that you'll NEVER be the victim of abuse the more likely it is that you will. Because you're the last one who will admit that this rot is setting into YOUR life. 

It's so, so hard to admit that you got someone so wrong, that they've slowly chipped YOU away to a shell of the strong person you were, that they've got under YOUR skin and are destroying you. 

You still want to think that they are the good person you thought you met, that this is a blip, that you can fix it. You end up changing everything that you ever were to try and fit an ever changing mould so that you can keep yourself safe from whatever the hell you did wrong this time and stop the next attack. 

You're so smart, so savvy and so switched on that it couldn't POSSIBLY be happening to you...right? So you stay, and you try, and you continue getting abused because you just can't admit that it's happening, not even to yourself. 

Stopping the cycle of abuse is a scary, immense task - it's so ingrained into society at all levels that it will take each and every one of us remembering the signs, educating our children, listening to the things that people DON'T say and supporting each other to even begin to buck the trend. 

Relationships in the media are rarely chocolate box. They are rarely happy, healthy or right. They set an example to people of how to adapt YOURSELF to try to make a relationship work and the blazing rows, back and forth and lies and manipulation that make up every soap marriage sink in to the minds of everyone viewing, everyone reading those magazines, everyone seeing those gossip columns, and it becomes not just normal but, scarily, somehow desirable. 

Young people seem to seek out these tempestuous relationships, to expect that's how it goes, to relish the drama and trauma. The problem is that whilst these games are being played out, real psychological damage is being done, real lessons are sinking into subconscious minds that teach the players that they aren't worth anything more or better than this, and it continues, around and around, poisoning them.

It scares me. It scares me that this dramatic, traumatic world of relationships is all that some people will ever know. That they will never understand how much more they deserve and how happy they could be, in a healthy, supportive relationship where their individuality is embraced and encouraged.

Stepping out of that cycle once it's begun, even if you escape one abusive relationship, is hard. Stepping away from one abuser isn't the end of the path. A great many victims will step into another carbon copy relationship and fall into the same patterns of behaviour. The same cycle of abuse will continue, and more and more people are joining that dance. 

Domestic abuse isn't just violence, it isn't just young girls who fall victim, it isn't a game and it isn't entertainment. 

The 'celebrities' and tv shows that fill our minds and consciousness with these relationship models are irresponsible, are dangerous, and we all need to fight back with facts, figures, details and empowerment for the victims so that they KNOW what is happening is not right, is not ok, and CAN NOT CONTINUE. 


  1. As a member of the local Baby and Toddler group we once had a representative from the local women's shelter come talk to us about domestic abuse. You're right, it is everyone. Including the middle-aged and upper-class wife and her two daughters. Educated in private school so the father could control who they saw and what they did, he picked them up every day and took them straight home, no clubs or outside friends. There was CCTV in every room of the house checking on the SAHM and her daughters. Until one day she left with them. It took years though.

    It is everyone and anyone.

    1. There are so many victims you'll never know about living this life silently behind apparently respectable doors - it's just awful


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