I am over 18

I often feel uncertain and afraid of my partner.
I’m walking on eggshells waiting for things to blow up around me.
Every time he hits me he says it will never happen again but it does.

 

You are not alone
Did you know as many as half of all women over the age of 15 in Australia will experience an act of violence or abuse at some point in their lives1 In most of these situations, the person using violence is someone who the woman knows. More often than not the violence or abuse has been happening a long time in the relationship.

Does this sound familiar?

  • I am frightened of my partner’s temper.
  • I find myself doing whatever my partner wants because I am afraid of what might happen otherwise.
  • I have been hit, kicked, shoved, or had things thrown at me by my partner when they were jealous or angry.
  • I make decisions about activities and friends according to what my partner wants or might react.
  • I drink or use drugs to dull the pain or join my partner so they won’t get mad.
  • I have less contact with family and friends as my relationship has continued.
  • My partner forces me into sexual acts that make me uncomfortable or afraid.
  • My partner puts me down in private or in front of other people.
  • My partner always want to know where I am and what I’m doing.
  • I feel like my partners expectations are constantly changing and that I never seem to get things right.
  • My children tell me they are, or seem uncomfortable or afraid of my partner.
  • My partner threatens to have me locked up for being crazy.
  • My partner always has the final say over the family finances and expect me to report and justify all that I spend.

This is domestic violence and it is unacceptable!

Mouzos & Makkai, 2004, Women’s Experiences of Male Violence Findings from the Australian Component of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS), http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/5/8/D/%7B58D8592E-CEF7-4005-AB11-B7A8B4842399%7DRPP56.pdf

 

You have a right to be safe
You do not have to live in fear. It is never OK for someone to use fear, violence, threats or abuse to control you. It can be really confusing to be a part of a relationship in which you feel both love and fear for someone. All relationships have ups and downs but violent relationships often have one partner having all the control over the other. This is called the cycle of violence.

Am I experiencing violence?
The Build-up – It’s like walking on eggshells! Nothing you do is good enough, and threats of violence or abuse are made. Tension builds up and you try to be the peacemaker at home making sure everyone in the household does the right thing to smooth it over.

The Crisis – the abusive behaviour explodes and your partner attacks. It becomes an extremely dangerous and violent situation. E.g. Something happens and you know you’re not safe.

The Remorse – your partner feels sorry for his behaviour and tries to explain, make excuses or even apologise. You feel like you have to offer support and forgiveness and you might take on some responsibility for the abuse. Sometimes he doesn’t feel sorry for the hurt he has caused, he just quietens down for a while.

The Honeymoon – There might be a time when everything is fine again and your partner might even be extra caring and attentive, promising they will get help and that it will never happen again.

If you recognise some or all of this pattern happening in your relationship then you are experiencing domestic violence. No matter how much love exists in a relationship, violence and abuse are never acceptable and will have an impact on you, your children and the rest of your life.

 

What can I do?
It is always difficult to choose to leave a violent or abusive situation because of the impact it has on all areas of life. Where will I go? Can I stay in my home? What about my pets? What will my neighbours and friends think of me? How do I keep my children safe?

If you are ever in immediate danger call the police on 000. Don’t hesitate!

 

Who can help me?
If you are experiencing domestic violence you can talk to someone for support or information. Domestic violence support workers are trained to understand what might be happening for you and services that can help.

If you need to talk to someone about domestic or family violence:

  • After hours counselling support
    1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Southern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service
    (08) 8382 0066
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
  • Ninko Kurtangga Patpangga
    Southern Regional Aboriginal Family Violence Service
    (08) 8297 9644
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm

You can also ask for help from your GP, Centrelink social worker or any other place you trust such as a Community Centre or Children’s Centre. Click here for information on people who can help.
If you want to leave a situation of domestic or family violence and have nowhere to go you can contact DV Gateway (1800 800 098). The Gateway will offer support, assess your situation and work with you to find alternative accommodation in a safe area. If you are ringing after 5pm or on the weekend you will reach the Homelessness Gateway and you need to say that you are experiencing domestic violence and you are not safe in your home. They will help you get the help you need. Contact the police (000) for help and protection for yourself and your children to remove the perpetrator or leave a situation.

 

Support for me
Leaving a violent relationship takes time, courage and support. Violence and abuse takes a toll on the way you feel about yourself and others. It might make you believe that you are worthless or unable to do things on your own or even that you are crazy.

THIS IS NOT TRUE. No one need live in FEAR.
Find people who will help support you and will be able to remind you of why you have chosen to leave or end the relationship. Get them to regularly ask you questions like:

  • ’What would you gain by going back into the relationship?’
  • ‘How do you think things will have changed if you go back?’
  • ‘What will it mean for the safety of you and your children if you go back?’

Remember, nobody has the right to hurt you or your children.
Call 1800 RESPECT to access telephone/online counselling

 

What about my children?
If you have children in your care they need to be safe too. Domestic violence has a significant impact on children of all ages, whether they witness the actual violence or not. For information on children and violence click here, and on the legal rights for you and your children click here.

For advice on how to manage the legal and financial impacts of leaving a violent relationship and to find out more about your rights and where you can get help here.