|By Lilyu (Own work) [Public domain], |
via Wikimedia Commons
I'm writing this blog on impulse after hearing Tina Nash interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour. Tina was blinded by an abusive partner, and her story really resonates with me as I could so easily have been injured or killed in similar circumstances.
I've been happily married for many years now, but before I met my beloved OH I tried to escape one dreadful relationship by running headlong into another. What Tina Nash says is perfectly true: abusive partners develop a hold over you so stealthily that you don't realise how they've sapped your confidence until it's too late. They alienate all the people who could help you, convince you that you'll be sectioned or have your children taken away if you try and speak out, and exert an almost hypnotic power which convinces you that their way is the only way.
Abusers don't always need to use violence to get their own way. Emotional blackmail is an equally powerful tool - just look at the havoc allegedly wreaked by Jimmy Savile. Anyone in a position of power - parent, teacher or celebrity - can prey on the vulnerable by using the chilling words "It'll be your word against mine, and who's going to believe you?" They'll chip away at your self-esteem until you assume there's no escape.
THAT ISN'T TRUE!
If you're reading this and you recognise yourself, or somebody you know, get help. NOW. In the UK, contact Refuge. In other parts of the world, check the phone book or type "Domestic Violence Helpline" into a search engine on a public access computer, rather than in your own home.
And please pass this message on - you may save a life.