Break the cycle dating violence

18-Jan-2018 07:31

‘If I had a quid for every woman who said to me over the years, “Give me a black eye any day. It's the words that hurt, it’s the words that stay,”’ says Karen Willis, executive officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.

But they all have one thing in common: a compulsion for power and control.In Deb’s case, she’d always thought she was to blame for Rob’s behaviour, and had spent years reading books on how to be a better partner.It’s also common for victims—even those living with physical violence and death threats—to see themselves as the strong one and to regard their partner’s abuse as something they simply have to withstand so they can help him overcome his demons.Her screams woke up their eldest son, who came running into the room to find his mother sobbing on the floor. As they were loading Nick into the divisional van, he turned to one of the policemen and said, ‘I’m not a criminal.’ It was the first time Nick had been physically violent towards Steph, and he certainly didn’t consider himself an abusive husband.But Nick was about to discover that not only had he committed a crime that night, he’d been inflicting domestic violence on his wife for years.

But they all have one thing in common: a compulsion for power and control.

In Deb’s case, she’d always thought she was to blame for Rob’s behaviour, and had spent years reading books on how to be a better partner.

It’s also common for victims—even those living with physical violence and death threats—to see themselves as the strong one and to regard their partner’s abuse as something they simply have to withstand so they can help him overcome his demons.

Her screams woke up their eldest son, who came running into the room to find his mother sobbing on the floor. As they were loading Nick into the divisional van, he turned to one of the policemen and said, ‘I’m not a criminal.’ It was the first time Nick had been physically violent towards Steph, and he certainly didn’t consider himself an abusive husband.

But Nick was about to discover that not only had he committed a crime that night, he’d been inflicting domestic violence on his wife for years.

He told her that what was going on in their relationship was called domestic violence, and the type of violence he was using on her was emotional abuse; instead of bashing her with his fists, he bashed her with his emotions in order to keep her under control. ‘Then I went to good old Google to Google emotional abuse,’ she recalls, ‘and then up came this list of behaviours, and I actually saw my whole life in a list on a computer.’ Deb’s shock soon turned to anger: ‘I thought, you know, I'm a high functioning, intelligent person—how could I have been in an abusive relationship and not even known?