If you have been in The Fresh Feminist sphere for a while, you will have noticed I talk about domestic abuse quite a lot. What you think about that could vary. Either way, I want to explain myself. Not because I really owe you an explanation but because there is a reason behind what I’m doing.
Being accused of talking about domestic abuse too much is something I am familiar with. It’s what happened in the period after I left my abusive partner. A lot of people didn’t want to hear about it but not everyone was so dismissive though. There are some people who allowed me (still do) to talk about it as much as I need to because it is how I am dealing with my trauma.
There is no easy way to deal with what happened. I didn’t mean to talk about it so much. It was just on my mind all the time so it infiltrated into what I said too. So if you are someone who is told they talk about their trauma too much, I see you and I salute you. Keep talking to your friends who are willing to support you and listen. It is your way of working through what happened which you need to do to keep moving forward. Obviously, you do need to be aware of other people’s triggers as well. There are people out there who are happy to listen to you.
There is a reason I talk about domestic abuse so publically though. Basically because it needs to be talked about. It has been an awkward and taboo topic for far too long. I didn’t know that I was in an abusive relationship for a long time. My expectations about relationships and what I would accept were wrong. Society had made me think a lot of wrong things about myself including that I needed to be in a relationship to be worthy. Other people need to know what an abusive relationship actually looks like and understand the unhealthy mindsets cause us to accept mistreatment. Abusive relationships are so much more complex than we assume.
What we see in the media is not always correct. Abusive relationships build up subtly. They include physical abuse but also emotional, verbal, mental, financial and sexual abuse. The point of manipulation is you are not supposed to realise it is happening, making it so easy to be a victim without even realising it. Manipulation is powerful enough to make the victim feel like everything that is happening is their fault.
We are told a false narrative about survivors too. We are told they are weak, broken, doomed to make the same mistakes again and untrustworthy. Survivors are rarely ever believed straight away like victims of other crimes. As victims, we don’t want to be those people who are seen to be oversensitive and probably liars. We would rather think that we were in the wrong instead of accepting that people can be so cruel and we can be a victim.
Really survivors of domestic abuse are none of those derogatory things. With the right support, we can take back control of our futures and thrive. We are some of the strongest people you will ever meet. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse and anyone can be a perpetrator. We need to break down our stereotypes and assumptions so we are willing to accept the truth even when it is difficult.
Nobody should be ashamed of having been in an abusive relationship. That’s why I talk about it so much. I want other people to know they don’t have to be ashamed either. It happens to so many people. It is not a reflection of your weakness but your strength to overcome. I’m not saying being a survivor is easy. It is not something I would wish on anyone. But as long as abusers keep abusing, there will keep being more and more survivors. I, for one, am not hiding in the shadows anymore. I exist. That might make other people uncomfortable but that’s the reality I have to live with.
By opening up conversations about what domestic abuse actually looks like and its after-effects, we can help people to avoid abusive relationships, get out of them and recover in the most dignified way possible. Keeping it hush-hush has only helped abusers so far.
Everybody needs to know how to spot domestic abuse and that it is possible to live beyond it. That is why I talk about domestic abuse so much.
If you are concerned you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can find more information HERE. I shared my experience of going to the police about domestic abuse which you can read HERE.