So what is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is abuse or violence between people who are, or have been, in an intimate relationship. Most violence is perpetrated by men towards women, but it can also be perpetrated by women towards men, or between partners in same sex relationships. At Coventry Haven, we support women who are experiencing domestic violence, regardless of the gender of their partner.
The start of your relationship might have been wonderful: your partner may have showered you with flowers, little gifts, lots of attention, and passion. Perhaps he called you all the time, wanting to know what you were thinking about. This is not an uncommon start to an abusive relationship, but the “love and attention” soon starts to feel controlling and demanding.
Your partner may dislike your family and friends and encourage you to sever ties with them, especially if he thinks they don’t like him. You might start feeling confused, or guilty for having mean thoughts about him. Arguments can get heated; he might accuse you of having affairs, looking at other men, being lazy, a bad mother, or a poor lover. You might believe the arguments are your fault.
Your partner might start physically hurting you: pushing, shoving, kicking you, or strangling you. He might even rape you. You may feel scared of his temper and go to extreme lengths to avoid upsetting him. You may feel as though you are constantly walking on eggshells. You may also feel completely trapped by the situation, depressed, or too scared to leave.
Many women who seek our help do not really believe that they are a victim of abuse because their situation is somehow different from others. If you recognise anything of the above in your own relationship, you may want to talk to us.