One in every four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
The statistics are staggering and highlight a very serious problem.
The BBC has been congratulated for the drama, Murdered By My Boyfriend, (trailer below) based on the true story of Casey Brittle, who fell in love and eventually fell to her demise after her boyfriend beat her to death.
It is excellent at highlighting how easily a relationship can transition from the good kind of passion, to the bad. In fact, as mentioned above, every fourth woman will experience some sort of domestic abuse in her lifetime. This number is huge. And yet, society’s stigmatisation of domestic violence makes it so hard to talk about that it often seems non-existent.
So how can you recognise that you / someone you know is in an abusive relationship?
Here are eight signs to look out for;
Intensity: Excessive charm, lying to cover up insecurity, needing to win over your friends and family immediately. Over-the-top gestures that seem too much, too soon, bombarding you with numerous texts and emails in a short period of time, behaving obsessively, ‘insisting’ that you get serious immediately.
Jealousy: Responding irrationally when you interact with other people, becoming angry when you speak to the opposite sex, persistently accusing you of flirting and / or cheating, resenting your time with your friends and family or demanding to know private details of your life.
Control: Telling you what to wear, how to fix your hair, when to speak or what to think, showing up uninvited at your home / school / job, checking your cell phone, emails, Facebook, going through your belongings, following you, sexually coercing you or making you feel bad about yourself.
Isolation: Insisting you only spend time with him or her, making you emotionally or psychologically dependent, preventing you from seeing your family or friends, or from going to school or work.
Sabotage: Making you miss work, school, an interview, test or competition by starting a fight, having a meltdown, or getting sick, breaking up with you or hiding your keys, wallet, text books or phone, stealing your belongings.
Criticism: Calling you overweight, ugly, stupid or crazy, ridiculing your beliefs, ambitions or friends, telling you he or she is the only one who really cares about you, brainwashing you to feel worthless.
Blame: Making you feel guilty and responsible for his or her behaviour, blaming the world or you for his or her problems, emotional manipulation, saying “this is your fault”.
Anger: Overreacting to small problems, frequently losing control, violent outbursts, having severe mood swings, drinking or partying excessively when upset, making threats, picking fights, having a history of violent behaviour and making you feel afraid.
No victim of any crime should be made to feel guilty or ashamed.
If you believe that you are in an abusive relationship, speak out and do something about it.