Don’t be confused – abuse is abuse

Our Watch have re-ignited “there’s no excuse for abuse” campaign.

Our Watch – There’s No Excuse for Abuse image

Right now as people’s lives are restricted with COVID-19 we are more aware that those live in abusive homes further restrictions only heightens their abuse.

The No Excuse for Abuse campaign aims to raise awareness of non-physical abuse and makes it clear there is never an excuse for any type of abuse against women.

What this campaign does is highlight the forms of abuse we don’t always associate with domestic violence. These are;

  • Spiritual abuse – Using faith or spirituality to control a partner or stop them from practicing their own beliefs.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse – Threatening, frightening, belittling or embarrassing a partner. 
  • Stalking – Harassing someone with unwanted contact or attention.
  • Financial abuse – Controlling a partner’s access to money or finances to limit their freedom or financial power.
  • Technological abuse – Using technology or devices to control, embarrass or demean a partner.

These forms of abuse are a lot more common than we think. They are insidious, inexcusable and the impact is just as traumatic as physical abuse. However when we become absorbed with one woman a week dying we can lose sight of these other abuses and think it is only physical violence we should be aware of. Yet all those women who have been murdered would have experienced these abuses too.

While you may not always see the bruises and the scars, you often see these other signs of abuse but don’t recognise them as domestic violence. But these forms of abuse can be the very first sign there is something wrong.

And if you see this or suspect something then there is an obligation do something. It can be as simple as checking in with the woman and then helping her find help. Remember women carry a lot of shame around this subject so be sensitive.

So what can you do to help if you see something?

  • listen, actively without judgment, don’t offer advice, just listen, believe her and tell her you believe her
  • Be aware of any blame that may creep in to the convestaion, don’t let her take any blame and don’t judge
  • Give her time to talk and don’t minimise what she is saying or pre-empt
  • Respect her decisions, no matter what they are, and do some more research to try and understand why she feels that way
  • Help her think through what she wants to do and help her find services to support her, she is the best judge of her own safety
  • Don’t tell her what you would do

A woman may not recognise abuse – instead it may take a crisis and there is intervention either by a counsellor or police before they realise. So remember she will try to leave as many as 7 times before she actually does.

Here’s more from 1800 RESPECT.

And if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know call Women’s Safety Services SA on 1800 800 098.