Domestic Abuse: Education Is The Key to Prevention

education key to domestic abuse
| Feminism > UK Feminism

Education is the key to preventing all kinds of matters facing our society today, and domestic violence is no exception.

Surprisingly, no one ever gave me a proper education about domestic violence. No one came into school to teach a seminar and no one sat me down to discuss it. I gained an education about domestic abuse after I discovered it had taken up the majority of my childhood. After seeing the respect and love my peer’s fathers showed their own daughters, I subconsciously thought ‘why am I not treated like that?’. This prompted a long talk with my mother and a mutual internet search before we both discovered that we had been abused.

Domestic abuse is a growing cancer in our society, affecting a range of victims including women, men and children. Even though people trapped in an abusive relationship have access to more help and support, it still seems as if people fall into such relationships due to an understandable unawareness of classic abusive or otherwise damaging behaviour and the stigma that the only abuse is a punch or a kick. Even worse, victim blaming is still a common thread with (a disgusting breed of) people blaming the victims for their own abuse because they haven’t taken the care in understanding the situation in which victims have found themselves in through no fault of their own.

Education is the key to preventing all kinds of matters facing our society today, and domestic violence is no exception.

The signs of abuse are wide-ranging, and not always obviously apparent.

Most abusive behaviours or signs of domestic abuse aren’t as apparent as physical or sexual assault.

Abusive behaviours can include intense jealousy, controlling behaviour, isolation of the victim, unrealistic expectations of the victim, threats of violence, hypersensitivity and never taking responsibly for emotions/actions (it’s always ‘someone else’s fault’).

This is just a short list of the many behaviours of an abuser. With the increase of advertising displaying such behaviour, people and even victims are growing more aware of the dangers and effects of such conduct. I say “even” victims because it’s so much harder to recognise and acknowledge abuse when you’re trapped in a toxic environment.

Never engage in victim blaming

Domestic abuse is harmful, and so is blaming the victim.

Victim-blaming shows not only a complete lack of compassion but a lack of understanding, as the reason most victims tend to overlook signs of abuse is due to constant brainwashing. This brainwashing is caused by isolation, occasional kind and romantic gestures and – of course – placing the blame of the abuse on the victim. This causes the victim to create excuses for their abuser, since they are under pressure to belief that their abuser’s behaviour is their own fault, and no-one else could love them because of this.

Victim blaming also disregards the huge courage the victim-turned-survivor has summoned to remove themselves from the situation. Survivors can also help to educate potential victims on the signs of abuse, to help prevent any further damage.

Domestic abuse and desensitisation

There is also the issue of such abusive behaviour and tolerance spreading. It’s no secret that children in abusive households are at risk of becoming either an abuser themselves or a victim once again later in life. They don’t know any better, because there is usually no contrast to tell them that what their abuser is doing to them is wrong.

Children will follow your example, not your advice. They will learn how to treat others from you, so treat other people (and, very importantly, yourself) with respect, and hopefully, we will begin to dent the cycle of abuse in families.

From my own experience with domestic abuse, education was a much-needed wakeup call that helped get my now loving family and myself out of a toxic home environment.

Helping victims turn into strong survivors should be a top priority in preventing domestic abuse, with education and encouragement as a primary tool.

Information on domestic violence and abuse

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Recognising an emotionally abusive relationship took time but it was worth it

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