Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Don't suffer in silence

There have been a number of high profile cases of domestic abuse against women in the press recently and as today is International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, we thought we'd talk a bit about domestic violence.

It can be easy to think that victims of domestic abuse can simply leave the situation, however often domestic abuse starts some time into a relationship when an emotional attachment has been established. For women, it may begin at a time of vulnerability, such as during pregnancy, and the woman may feel she has no choice but to stay with her partner, hoping it is a one-off.

Often there is a period following the abusive behaviour when the perpetrator apologises for their behaviour and promises never to do it again and the victim may want to give things another try, hoping it will get better. However, this pattern of behaviour can continue for years and the victim may slowly lose confidence and begin to believe she is somehow to blame. 

Women often feel trapped in the situation and become too scared to leave. They may worry about uprooting their children's lives or leaving them behind; may not be financially independent; have no where else to go and may fear what would happen if their partner found them.

While domestic abuse is often thought of as physical violence against women, in reality it is just as likely to be of a sexual or mental/emotional nature and can happen to anyone, children and men included. 

Indeed the number of reported cases of domestic abuse where men are the victims has doubled in the last decade and it is likely there are many more unreported cases as victims of domestic abuse may feel helpless and ashamed and not know where to turn.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there is help at hand. Speaking to a trained counsellor or therapist may be useful as it may help you rebuild your confidence and self-esteem following an abusive relationship and may enable you to think clearly about what you wish to do about the situation if you feel unable to leave. 

Police Scotland also offer lots of helpful advice and contact details of support organisations on their website. 

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