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Abusive relationships

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Is this you or someone you know?

Do you find yourself in a relationship which is destructive but cannot seem to leave it? You may feel powerless to change the situation on your own. You may have become isolated from your support network, such as from friends and family. You wonder what happened to the person you thought you were. Your self-confidence has been replaced with anxiety, depression or low self-esteem.

What makes a relationship healthy?

A healthy relationship is characterised by mutual respect, equality, trust, communication, and freedom. Each person is allowed to be an individual, as well as grow as a couple. When partners in a healthy relationship engage in sexual activities, they communicate openly and respectfully. While no relationship is perfect, and we all have bad days, partners should feel, on the whole, that their relationship is positive and healthy.

What is relationship abuse?

It is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviours used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. It occurs at about the same rate in LGBTQ relationships as it does in heterosexual relationships. Abuse can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, or physical. It can include threats, isolation, and intimidation, and it tends to escalate over time.

What are some signs of an abusive relationship?

1.

One feels pressured by the other in regard to sex

2.

One criticises or humiliates the other in front of people

3.

One frequently checks up on the other and questions what that person does

4.

One's jealousy stops the other from seeing friends or family

5.

One feels scared by the other person’s violence or threatening behaviour

6.

One threatens harm in the event of a break-up

7.

One makes excuses for bad behaviour

Why do victims stay in abusive relationships?

1.

Fear of what the abusive partner might do to them if they leaves. Fear no one will believe their side of the story. Fear of what people might think of them if they know of the abuse

2.

They have to see their partner all the time, at work or on campus

3.

They forgive the abuser

4.

They have tried leaving before and it didn’t work

How to help a friend

1.

Listen, without judging. Be there to provide support

2.

Tell your friend that the abuse is not their fault. There is no excuse for abusive behaviour and it is never acceptable

3.

Empower your friend to make their own decisions. Don’t be another person to control them

4.

Get advice and direct your friend to support and resources

What can I do if I'm in an abusive relationship?

1.

Talk to a friend or parent: Sharing your experience will help you feel less isolated

2.

Talk to AWARE: Our helpline is open weekdays from 10am – 6pm (1800 777 5555)

3.

Talk to a counsellor: If you are a student, you may seek counselling support at your school. AWARE also offers a counselling service - to book an appointment, call the helpline

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