If you are being abused, threatened, harassed or physically or sexually assaulted by your partner, former partner or someone who is or has been close to you, there are a number of things you can do.
Your abuser may blame you and other things like being drunk, pressure of work, unemployment and minimise or deny what they are doing. These things can put a strain on a relationship but are not a cause of abuse.
Abuse in teenage relationships is also not normal or acceptable.
Don't keep what is happening to you a secret. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and the longer the abuse goes on, the harder it gets to take some action.
Talk to someone you trust or contact an organisation for support:
- In an emergency, always call 999.
- Suffolk InfoLink has a listing of local and national domestic violence support services.
Don't feel alone
Research shows that 1 in 4 women have been in an abusive relationship at some time in their lives; men can also be abused in a similar way. It can happen to any-one at any time of their lives regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, wealth, income, lifestyle or where you live.
Don't remain isolated
Your abuser may be trying to control you physically as well as emotionally in many ways. They may be controlling finances and may be stopping you going out, or making it awkward for you to see family and friends. All these are types of abuse that can keep you locked in the relationship.
Accept you are not to blame
You are not responsible for the abuse although the person abusing you may be telling you, or you may feel, it's your fault. You may have tried changing what you do, say and wear to try to pacify and not to antagonise the situation. You may have already noticed that whatever you do makes little difference to the way your abuser reacts and despite your efforts you cannot change their behaviour.
Keep yourself safe
Minimising what is happening can put you (and your children) at risk. It's not easy to accept that a loved one can act in this way and you may be trying to make the relationship work. Your abuser may apologise and persuade you that it will not happen again but any sort of abuse is likely to get worse; violence rarely happens only once and will get more and more serious as time goes on.
Only leave when it is safe to do so
You may be considering leaving or may have left before and returned for emotional or practical reasons, this is not unusual. Most people try to get help or leave a number of times before getting the help that's right for them. If you are thinking of leaving making a plan can help you do this as safely as possible.