You are one of the thousands for whom lockdown is worse than coronavirus.
You are staying at home, washing the walls, and think if you rang 999 there’d be no-one to help. You’re wrong.
You think it’ll be easier when things get back to normal, and you’re only stuck with him at the weekends.
You tell yourself it’s the money worries. It’s the drinking. It’s because he can’t get hold of the drugs. The kids are climbing the walls and everyone’s just getting on his nerves.
You can get through this, you think. It’s just a few weeks. A couple of months. Or, if things don’t get better just by ignoring them, it could be years.
It was just a push, you tell yourself. Just a row that got out of hand. You love him, you understand him, you’ve got this.
The kids need their dad. He didn’t use to be like this. If you just bend, a little more, he’ll stay calm, it won’t kick off.
It’s your fault if the children see it. It’s your fault if they hear the yells. You made him do it, because you wouldn’t do as he asked. You made him angry, so it’s up to you to make him happy.
You can bend. You can put up with the remarks, the digs, the pinching. If you don’t rise to it, it won’t get any worse.
It always gets worse.
You can never bend enough. There’ll be another row, and each is worse than the last because they are addicted to hurting you.
Each time they do it, they need a little more to feel good. That’s how put-downs lead to pinching, silly fights build to a shove. By the time fists start flying, you’ve probably had months or years of telling yourself that this is bickering that got worse because you bickered back.
Domestic abuse is about someone who has no control – perhaps he’s lost his job, his mother left him as a baby, or he’s got a drink problem – exerting what little he has over the one person who will forgive them anything.
Usually it’s a partner, sometimes a parent or a child. But it’s always, always, about control, and if you’ve noticed it’s got worse since lockdown that’s because a viral pandemic and house arrest have removed the last things he was in charge of. He can’t bully people at work, he can’t go out and not tell you where he is, he can’t be certain of his own superiority.
If he can make you cower, he gets all of that back. He sees everything slipping through his fingers, so he grabs you in a chokehold.
Police : call 999 and press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak
- Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline : 0808 2000 247
- Online: visit https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/ There is a ‘quick exit’ button if you think someone is watching
You are not the only one. A quarter of all women in the UK – about 8 million of us – have experienced domestic abuse, along with 5 million men.
While crime reports are falling with the lockdown, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline reports a 25% surge in calls, and a 150% increase in website visitors. And there have been multiple reports of domestic murders.
And, if this sounds like you, this is the one time that the police and NHS would be highly delighted to hear that you have left the house. They don’t want you to wait for the average of 30 abuse incidents before you call them.
They just want to know that you, out of all the people in the country they want to stay at home, have escaped.
Unlike coronavirus, no medic can cure this for you. The treatment, and the vaccine, are things you must search for and administer yourself. And the only way you’ll spot them is to take off the blinkers and see what everyone else does.
See someone who asks permission to do normal things. Someone who has no access to their own money, who has to beg or persuade or cajole, who has to prove, every day, they’re not having an affair.
Because this is not happening in every house. And if it’s happening in yours, are you prepared to wait another 40 years to see how much worse it will get?
Once you’ve diagnosed your problem, the first treatment is to tell someone. Anyone will do – a neighbour, your mum, the GP. They’ll tell you that you’re not going mad, and offer you help and advice.
There is absolutely nothing that has happened to you that has not happened before. Reach out for those people, and they’ll hold your hand.
The Duchess of Cornwall has friends who’ve suffered it. Rihanna’s bruises were public. Charlize Theron spoke about how her mother killed her father in self-defence, and she’s opened two rape crisis centres to help others.
Wealth, beauty or privilege doesn’t protect you. Only talking about it will do that. That’s why all of them talk, over and over again. They have the cure, and they’re sharing it.
The vaccine is harder, because it means leaving. It means a financial nightmare, a new home or new locks, new worries and, sometimes, new threats.
But if lockdown has proven that what you thought were minor issues are major ones, that you are under the control of a person who is unwell, then see it as a gift. If this is what you have now, then you could have a better, happier life. What fool wouldn’t grab that?
Refuges are still open. The police are still there, and will happily remove the perpetrator if you will press charges. And if you can get out, then for once he has to stay where he is.
If in the past few weeks you have, even for just a second, hoped you’d get coronavirus so that you could be in hospital, struggling to breathe but SAFE and finally away from him if only for a while, then this article was all about you.
Tell someone. Leave him in lockdown. Grab your future, and don’t let go.
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Stay at home, avoid the NHS, lose your life: domestic abuse is surging, and if you're a victim you need to leave have 1354 words, post on www.mirror.co.uk at April 6, 2020. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.