Sheffield woman wants others to be more aware of emotional domestic abuse
A victim of domestic abuse has spoken out about her experiences, as she wants other women in Sheffield to realise that ‘emotional abuse is equally as damaging as physical abuse’.
Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship was made a criminal offence, as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
Although this is in place, many people think that domestic abuse is purely physical, and it may be one reason why some victims are still suffering in silence, as one woman believes.
The woman in her 20s, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said: “It took me two years to realise that I was a victim of abuse.
“Only after recently stumbling across an article online did I realise that the words written in front of me were a reflection of my own experience.
“It’s obvious now but at the time it was happening, I was oblivious.”
The woman has shared her story because she believes that under the current lockdown situation, ‘it must be even harder for people who may be going through something similar now’.
She explained: “I was never hit or threatened. It was mostly emotional abuse, some sexual.”
“I thought I had met a lovely, kind person, who made me feel special. A few months into the relationship, he changed. I changed.
“I was never really a drinker but I started drinking more. I didn’t come home some nights because I’d be with him. I cancelled on friends because I was seeing him.
“Whenever we disagreed on something, I’d always be the one apologising, even though I knew deep down I shouldn’t have been. It was never his fault.
“I think I was brainwashed in a way.”
It took a ‘bad turn of events’ for the woman ‘to be free’.
She still has flashbacks today but explained that, had she been more aware at the time, perhaps she would have sought help, which is why she wants to help others be more aware.
She added: “Domestic abuse is not just physical and emotional scars are just as long-lasting as physical scars.
“I had to build myself and my life again quite literally, but it’s possible.”
Visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline