The terms domestic violence and abuse are often used interchangeably, but ultimately they refer to an incident or multiple incidents of coercive, violent, or degrading behavior by an intimate partner or family member. This includes physical violence, emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse amongst others. Ultimately, domestic abuse is a fundamental violation of the individual’s human rights, and we are all responsible for recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship.
One of the most difficult things about leaving this sort of situation is the fear of shame, not being believed and questions about why the person didn’t get out sooner. We need to show ourselves as allies that will not judge and will instead support those who are leaving behind domestic violence. (Women’s Aid)
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, with one in seven men experiencing it at some point in their lives. However, the prevalence amongst women is significantly higher at one in three, and worldwide, domestic violence is the direct result of more death and disability for women aged 16-55 than cancer, war, and malaria combined. (NCBI)
Why didn’t you leave? is a common response when somebody shares their story of intimate partner violence. However, it is never that simple. Each individual’s experience is fundamentally unique to them and there is often a complex combination of factors serving as barriers to leaving. This could include fear of repercussion, economic dependency, and a lack of self-esteem, amongst others. Moreover, one study highlighted that the vast majority of femicide cases relating to domestic abuse occurred after separation. (Research Gate)
Question: Have you ever hesitated to leave a relationship that you knew was toxic?
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