For victims of domestic violence the first step is the hardest
Everyone has the potential to be a victim of domestic violence
Up until now my blogs have focused on professional and personal responses to domestic abuse, but now I would like to talk from a victim perspective.
A victim is any man or woman, any age, any race, any class, any social background, any colour - anyone can be a victim. Everyone has the potential to be a victim once under the disguised influence of controlling, manipulative behaviour, which day by day simply chips away at a person, until they are unrecognisable, having been seduced by a mistaken emotion called “love”.
Protection becomes control, love becomes fear, care becomes threats, quality becomes restriction, and affection becomes bullying, beating, harassment, stalking, verbal abuse...
A victim may feel there is nowhere to turn, no one who will believe them, and rationalise the violent behaviour and even accept the blame for it.
The first step of reaching out is a vulnerable time. It is unknown territory, it is full of self-doubt and can increase risk. The internet has a wealth of signposting support web sites, all with rapid exit buttons which delete the history of the web page visit in case internet use is being monitored. Local charities who offer refuge, victim support and safety planning also provide free 24 hour helplines which victims can call for advice.
Confidentiality and anonymity is protected and, for the first time, the victim may find themselves with someone listening, not judging, but believing. No blame, no shame, simply listen and be guided by the victim to the next step.
The first step is the hardest, but it's also a step in the right direction.