Domestic Abuse: Sylvia’s Story

Day 10 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. I am amazed at the vulnerability with which people have decided to share with me on this blog; it has already been such a privilege. If you have been moved or encouraged by anything you read, I am sure the authors would love to hear from you; please do leave a message in the box below if you’d like to show your support.

Today Sylvia talks openly about her experience of emotional abuse.

Domestic Abuse: Sylvia’s Story

The 2013/14 CSEW (Crime Survey of England and Wales) found that, overall, 28.3% of women have experienced domestic abuse since the age of sixteen. I am one of the estimated 4.6 million women in the UK.

“Why are you wearing make up? Who are you trying to impress? Why are you running late if your train gets in at “xyz”.” This was my daily routine up until 4 years ago.

On a regular basis I was being interrogated, intimidated and put down until late at night. It was almost impossible to socialise with family and friends as I was always deemed to be inappropriate or over familiar with the opposite sex which included: my Mum’s cousin who was in his late sixties and whom I’ve met the first time at my grandmother’s funeral, numerous husbands, boyfriends and other longstanding friends. The only men not included in this list are my brother and my Dad.

Towards the end of the relationship things turned physical with the occasional push and threats such as “I’m going to smash your head with my I-pad” were becoming more frequent.

Guess some of you might wonder why a grown-up, at the time thirty-something professional would end up in an emotionally abusive relationship?

Things were not always bad. My ex could be incredibly charming and we did have some happy times. I am sure some reading this might be smiling now and most certainly will have some preconceptions. That’s ok. I used to as well. Emotional abuse crosses all social classes, ethnic groups, sexual orientations and religions.

For me the following frog analogy fits an abusive relationship perfectly:

They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger. But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late. The frog’s survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes.

Thankfully the relationship ended before it was too late / the water too hot. It took all my boldness and courage. However, I did not realise or maybe wouldn’t want to admit until after the relationship was over, that it was emotionally abusive.

I would love to encourage you to stay close to your family member, friend or work colleague who are experiencing domestic abuse. When they are ready to leave, they will need all the help they can get!

If you are experiencing domestic abuse – be encouraged my friend. Remember, nobody can make this step on your behalf. It has to be you!

Thank you to my amazing family, friends, church family, work colleagues and most of all my Heavenly Father. Without your support I would not be where I am today.

If you are a victim or concerned about someone, further information can be found on:

https://www.womensaid.org.uk

http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

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