Domestic abuse is far more complex than most people realize. Most abusers are very good at concealing that side of themselves from others, and from their partners for the first while. By the time they begin to show their abusive tendencies, the relationship has usually progressed, and there can be shared finances, housing, and children to consider. The abuser has established a dynamic of power and control, and often uses intimidation, threats, and isolation to keep the victim from leaving. The most dangerous time for a woman is right before, during, and after she has left an abusive relationship.
There are many other barriers that make it difficult for women to leave. For a snapshot of these, check out this slideshow of 50 common barriers that keep women from leaving.
This abuse can take many forms. The term "domestic violence" can be misleading, as it does not have to be physical harm or violence. The Power and Control Wheel (below) shows the many forms that domestic violence can take:
If you are in, or suspect you are in an abusive relationship, reach out to someone you trust for help. You can call us at Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. (403-960-0644) and we can be here to listen and to help.
If you are the friend or family member of someone who is experiencing domestic abuse, the most important thing you can do for them is to believe them when they tell you. Listen, don't judge, and reassure them that what they are experiencing is not their fault, and is not ok. Ask what you can do to help, rather than telling them what to do. Do not try to confront the abuser, and respect the confidentiality of the person confiding in you. Maintain connection with them while considering their safety.
If you need help or information about how to support someone, please feel free to contact us.
According to the Department of Justice in Canada, family violence (also called domestic violence) is considered to be any form of abuse, mistreatment or neglect that a person experiences from a family member, or from someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. It occurs when “when someone uses abusive behaviour to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship.”