Just a disclaimer before you read on this may be triggering to some people, so please ensure that you’re not going to upset yourself by reading this as it is a touchy subject, if you feel comfortable then please do read on.

Abusive relationships are far too common and one of the things that are not spoken about enough. There are so many people out there that are suffering from abuse, whether emotional or physical. It’s one of the worst experiences for anyone to have to go through and they can often feel like there is no escape. Now, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that we keep getting put in lockdown, it’s safe to say that abuse is possibly happening a lot more now, due to having to stay at home and always having to face the abuser day in day out. 

For some, it may be something that has only started to occur during the lockdown and for others, it may be something that is an ongoing thing. It’s honestly very hard to have to go through and it’s something you should never have to go through alone. Being at home shouldn’t come with the risks, it should be a place you want to go back to and feel comfortable in. But, with abuse going on it can often be seen as a place of trauma and pain. 

Signs of abuse

It’s important to know just exactly what warning signs to look out for when it comes to abuse, the victim may not really be able to notice or be blinded by what is going on. But, someone they know could pick up on it or perhaps they themselves might realise. Some signs of abuse are if your partner bullies threaten or control you. This could be saying you’re cheating, blames you, criticises you constantly, tells you what to wear and how to look, threatens to hurt you or someone you love, throws things, yells at you and makes you feel small.

They could also do it by controlling your money by keeping cash and credit cards away from you, keep you from working the job you want, steals money from you or your friends, won’t let you have the money for food or clothes. They could cut you off from your family and friends, keep close tabs on where you’re going and who you go with, embarrasses you in front of others, proving to them where you’ve gone. Other signs of abuse could be physical signs, abandoning you in a place you don’t know, attacking you with weapons, keep you from eating, sleeping or getting medical help, locks you out or in the house, physically lays their hands on you and forcing you to have sex with them.

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Signs someone you know is being abused

Whilst we’re in lockdown, this may be particularly hard as we’re not seeing people like we normally would. However, neighbours or those in your support bubble could pick up on things, even if you’re speaking over the phone. Signs could be the victim making excuses for their injuries, personality changes, having low self-esteem in someone who has always been confident, overly worried about pleasing their partner, skipping out on everything.

If you think someone you know is being abused it’s important not to rush them or make them tell you things if they’re not comfortable. You have to be gentle with them and understanding, you can start by asking if something is wrong, talk about what is concerning you, listen to them carefully, let them know you’re always there for them if they decide to tell you, give them numbers for specific helplines so they can get help immediately. It’s important not to then go back and say something to the abuser, by shouting at them or threatening them as angry as you might be because this will make it ten times worse for the victim and put them in danger.

 

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Keeping safe during Covid-19 pandemic 

It’s important to know that the advice of stay at home does not apply to you if you’re trying to leave your home to escape domestic abuse. Go to someone you trust, go to a refugee, go to the police station, make sure you go somewhere you feel safe. You could think up something that is known as a safety plan, something that will help you to be able to escape the situation you’re in, in a safe way. This could be keeping your phone on you at all times, if they have your phone, make sure to always keep a backup or go to your nearest payphone, make sure to carry a little bit of change if you can. Always keep emergency numbers on you.

If the abuser is someone who is likely to keep your phone from you, make sure to delete any messages and calls quickly and turn off your notifications so they can’t find out who you’re talking too. You could have a certain code you can use with your friends or family, or perhaps use the method of calling someone and ordering a pizza and giving them your address. Make sure it’s someone you trust at all times, so they can come to you, whilst keeping you and them safe. Have an escape plan, think about where it close to you that you can go to in case of emergency.

If you’re in immediate danger, always call 999, it is vital that you get help straight away! If you’re being asked what you need, cough or tap on the handset or you can press 55 to let the other person know that it’s an emergency and you’re not safe to speak. Even if we’re not in lockdown or going through a pandemic, this is still a really important thing for you to do if you’re being abused.

Helplines

Call Mindkind on 01823 334244

Call Refuge on 0808 2000 247

Call Victim Support Helpline on 0808 168 9111

ONLINE COUNSELLING IS AVAILABLE CALL 07510495791 OR EMAIL BECKYWHOCARES1@OUTLOOK.COM

If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.

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Journalist