I very much
hope that I have helped you to realise that you are a victim of dating abuse. It is difficult to come to terms with, but
with time and help you can get back to living your own life, free from his
shadow. Please take action now and do not leave it any longer – it will only
I hope you
can see now that you are being abused and so the next step is to get out of
this harmful relationship. I recommend that you reach out to your family and
close friends for help. If not them, then a trusted teacher or your school
phycologist (if you have one). Do not be afraid, there will be someone who can
help you. This is not your fault and you should not feel at all embarrassed. Contact
an organisation that can help you leave your relationship. TEARS is a
foundation that helps many people in situations like yours. They have a hotline
so that you can call them and ask for help. They are professionals and they
will tell you the safest way to get out. When you contact and research them,
use a safe phone and/or computer so that your boyfriend does not find out. Make
sure, that once you have successfully left him, you receive therapy. This has
been a very traumatic experience and you will need good counselling to help
You are in
stage three of the cycle of abuse: reconciliation. This is clear because
tensions built in stage one as he gradually began controlling and manipulating
you, then there were incidents in stage two when he began hitting you and
currently he has been threatening to kill you or himself if you leave him. Threatening
suicide or killing is a common method that abusers use to evoke sympathy and
fear in their victims and is a clear sign that you have reached stage three of
abuse. After this comes stage four: calm. Do not be fooled; he will apologise
and give excuses and the incident will be “forgotten”. Do not believe him when
he says it won’t happen again; after stage four the cycle begins again. Do not
fall into his trap.
Firstly, you need to know that dating abuse is any kind of physical, emotional,
sexual or verbal manipulation, intimidation, assault, humiliation or bullying
done to a person in a relationship. Your boyfriend is obsessively jealous, he
controls you by telling you what to wear and where you can and cannot go, he
checks your cellular phone, he is extremely possessive (he calls you far too
often), he hits you and he threatens your life and his. These are all forms of
abuse and sure signs of dating abuse. It is not normal or acceptable behaviour and
it will not change, no matter what he tells you.
I have read your story and I need to inform you that your
current relationship with your boyfriend is an abusive one. Although you may
not want to accept it, you are a victim of dating abuse and you are being
Your abusive relationship
5 Woodmead Street
28 January 2018
170 Mowbray Road
Post Net Suite 414
Private Bag X9
85 Protea Road
Kingsley Office Park
010 590 5920
+27 (0) 86 520 0316
TEARS, foundation providing help to victims
who have been abused.
Tel: 011 326
Fax: 011 326
MOBIEG, center for helping teenagers in
Organizations that can help:
help: If you have no idea how to leave a
relationship or what to do, call a helpline (there are many). They will help
you work out a plan to safely leave, based on your specific situation and
them from your life: Decide to leave the relationship. Phone your
partner and tell them it is over, be brief and firm. Block their contact,
change your passwords and even change your phone number if needed. Reach out
for support from friends and family. If you feel you are still in danger or
your now former partner tries to contact you or bother you in any way, contact
a helpline. You will need therapy to overcome this traumatic experience. If
your former partner threatens you, do not hesitate to contact the police.
The three step plan: 1. Acknowledge the existence of the
abuse – You have to accept that you are being abused. Do not down play abuse,
no matter what kind. There is no excuse for abuse and an abusive relationship
can never be a healthy one. 2. Get help – Call a help organization or reach
out to family and friends. There will always be people who will understand and
help you. 3. Use a safe computer – The National Domestic
Violence website gives ways to make a safety plan to get out of a relationship.
Use a safe computer to make these plans so your abuser does not find out.
realistic ways to escape an abusive relationship:
Cycle of abuse:
nature: An abusing partner will become increasingly
protective and will start controlling every aspect of their partner’s life. If
a partner is constantly telling their partner what to do they are abusing them.
A person has the right to make their own decisions and a controlling
relationship is an unhealthy one.
injuries: If a partner physically hurts their partner in
any way it is abuse. This is a way of controlling their partner and is dating
abuse. There is no excuse, ever, for purposely hurting a partner.
from family and friends: Abusing partners will seek to isolate their
victims from everyone else in their lives. If a person is becomes distant and
increasingly absent from family or friends, it is likely a sign of dating
temper and mood swings: Abusive partners will often have dangerously
quick tempers and sudden mood swings. They can be unpredictable and became very
angry very fast for seemingly no reason. They can switch from one mood to
another in seconds. This is not normal behavior and can make for a very unsafe
insults: A partner who insults their partner is
verbally abusing them. Partners should not be belittling their partners or
putting them down. This is manipulative and not a healthy dating
jealousy or insecurity:
If a partner shows signs of jealously or
insecurity, it could be a sign of abuse. Abusing partners are obsessively
protective and become jealous of anyone who could possibly take their victims
away. This stems from their insecurity, as they become paranoid that their
partners will leave or cheat on them. Abusing partners force their victims to
put them above everything else in their lives.
cellular phones: If a partner checks his/her partner’s cellular
phones often and/or without permission, it is an invasion of privacy. Abusing
partners will become obsessively protective and controlling, causing them to
check constantly on their partner’s texts, emails, social networks and
pictures. This is not normal dating behavior and is in fact a form of abuse. A
partner has a right to privacy and is under no obligation to share personal
information. Partners trying to force this are abusers.
Some warning signs of dating abuse:
When sexting, partners send explicit pictures and
messages to each other. Abusing partners can send images and messages that
their partners are not comfortable with. Partners can also be forced to send
revealing pictures of themselves. These pictures can then be used as blackmail
or to humiliate the victim partner if the abusing partner shares or threatens to
share them on social media. Therefore cellular phones and social media heavily
contribute towards dating abuse.
Since most people today always have their cellular
phones with them, abusing partners can constantly abuse their partners through
insults, sexting and cyberbullying. For a victim, there is no escape from this
online abuse. Abusers often demand that their partners unfriend a former
boyfriend or girlfriend on social networks. Social media makes it very easy for
abusing partners to embarrass their partners by sharing details about their
relationship online. Constant messaging, digital disrespect and online cruelty
all go hand in hand with dating abuse.
use their phones to go online to check on their partners frequently, invading
their privacy and not giving them any space or alone time. Partners can force
their partners to give them their phones so that they can check their text
messages without permission. Abusers can force their partners to give them
their phone passwords so that their partners can have no secrets or privacy.
Often, other online passwords are demanded, so that abusing partners can check
every aspect of their partner’s online lives. This is a violation of a person’s
right to privacy and is therefore dating abuse.
Contribution of abuse through
use of cellular phones and social networking: The increased use of
cellular phones and social media websites has made dating abuse very easy and
often contributes to dating abuse. Abusing partners can use phones to spy on
and harass their partners.
He always reminded her that she
really was quite unattractive and overweight and that she was very lucky to
abuse: When the abusing partner
insults the victim partner to lower his/her self-esteem.
He forced her to stop wearing skirts and trousers that went above her
behavior: When the abusing partner tells
the victim partner what she/he can and can’t wear.
told him she wasn’t ready yet, but he insisted that she needed to show him she
loved him and eventually she gave in.
abuse: When the abusing partner
forces the victim partner to have sex with her/him.
He slapped her hard across her face when she told him she had spent
time with one of her friends who happened to be a boy.
Abuse: When the abusing partner slaps
the victim partner.
He said if she didn’t come to the club with him he would break up with
her and nobody else would ever want her.
abuse: When the abusing partner threatens
to break up the victim partner if she/he does not do something.
Examples Dating Abuse under the following headings:
Victim: Often someone with low
self-esteem, with emotional and economic dependency who has continued faith and
hope in abuser, with depression, with stress disorders, with psychosomatic
complaints, who accepts blame and guilt for violence or abuse, who believes in
stereotypical gender roles, who appears nervous or anxious, or who has repeatedly
left, or considered leaving the relationship. They often show physical signs of injury, miss time at work or
school, slip in performance at work or school, have changes in mood or
personality, increase their use of drugs or alcohol and are increasingly
isolated from friends and family.
Abuser: Often someone who is obsessively jealous or
possessive, very confident, has mood swings, is violent, has a split
personality and has an explosive temper. They usually try to isolate their
victims from everyone else in the victim’s life and often blame their actions
on external problems. They are often charming, controlling, insecure, alcohol
or drug abusers, forceful, hypersensitive, critical and manipulative.
Profile of an abuser and a
victim with regards to Dating Abuse:
Definition of dating abuse:
Dating abuse is abuse that happens in a relationship. It is done to control a
dating partner. Dating abuse is usually a cycle or pattern of various abusive behaviors
over a period of time. The way the abuse occurs and the type of abuse differs
from relationship to relationship, but all abusive dating relationships have
issues of power and control. Abusive behavior includes sexual, physical,
emotional and verbal abuse. Dating abuse often worsens over time. It can happen
to anyone, including partners in opposite-sex relationships and same-sex
relationships. People of all ages, races, genders, classes, religions and
education levels can be affected.
Definition of Abuse: Abuse is any kind of physical,
emotional, sexual or verbal manipulation, intimidation, assault, humiliation or
bullying done to a person or even an animal. Abuse can happen anywhere to
anyone. It can be because of a person’s religion, race, gender, abilities,
sexual orientation or simply because the abuser wants to feel powerful. People
abuse others to control them, often taking advantage of their trust or
dependency, making them feel vulnerable. Abuse is when people misuse their
power in a relationship to hurt someone. Abuse can happen in families, places
of worship, neighbourhoods, schools, etc. Abuse can affect young and old, poor
and rich and educated and un-educated.
By Emma Parsons
RELATIONSHIPS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON WELL-BEING
FORMAL LIFE ORIENTATION ASSESSMENT