As someone who has been in an abusive relationship (it was verbally and emotionally abusive though I now realise it could have also become violent had I stayed) this hurts my heart so much. Leaving an abusive person is hard. They wear you down over time to make you feel inadequate and worthless and if they’re worried you might leave them, drop threats at what will happen if you do leave. In my case it was having deeply personal stuff revealed publicly and having no friends left after what he’d tell them all about me.
I can’t even imagine how much harder it would have been if there’d been threats of physical harm, or if we’d had kids together. I’m also lucky I had an excellent support network who got me out of there in a day, a mum who took me in without a single question or complaint and I had control of my money and belongings so I didn’t have to leave with nothing. Many women don’t have it like I did, they have no money and have to flee, with their children, with only minimal belongings. If they don’t have friends or family who can help them, they have to reply on crisis shelters which receive little support and are closing down all over Australia, so are probably over capacity already.
I don’t tend to talk about that part of my life because a) it fills me with burning, fiery rage b) life is great now and I don’t want to waste any more time on my ex and c) I’m fairly certain he still reads my blog and social media through dummy accounts and I don’t like giving him the satisfaction knowing I still think about him, even if it’s in a negative way. But I figure if someone reading this goes “hey, that’s why my partner does to me” and it gives them the courage to leave them or at least be more conscious of how they’re being treated, then I’m happy to put it out there.
Domestic violence should be one of the biggest issues in Australia right now, if not the whole world. But it’s left to being a sensationalised headline for a day or two and immediately forgotten about. That’s why the Destroy the Joint “Counting Dead Women” campaign is so important, because it’s easy to forget about these women when they’re only in the news briefly and no policy is made/changed to help other women from sharing similar fates.
So what do we do? I’m sorry to say, I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. Women keep shouting about how shit this is, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. Or shitlord of a PM is Minister for Women and cares very little for women at all, so he’s as useless as tits on a bull. I see people all the time online claiming it’s not that bad or that it happens to men as much/more than women or suggesting women should just leave if their partner abuses them, like they’re fucking genius’ who somehow figured that out before anyone else did.
It fills me with such dread and sadness that I can’t think of anything to do. All I can suggest is to be vocal about it as much as you can. Call out bad behaviour that jokes about or approves of women being harmed in any capacity. Help any women in your life who might be in an abusive situation without judgement. Just please do not stay silent on this topic, whatever you do!