SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below you'll find answers to all the most commonly asked questions about abuse in relationships. If you can't find the answer you need then please click here to see a list of registered charities that can help you.
Abusive behaviour can be:
• violent (hitting, kicking, slapping)
• emotional (humiliating and putting you down)
• sexual (forcing you to do sexual acts you don’t want to)
Abusive relationships can start with verbal or emotional abuse and could happen to anyone (including those in same-sex relationships). It can often escalate into physical abuse, by which time your self-esteem is likely to be damaged.
Some warning signs of potential violence and abusive behaviour are:
• extreme jealousy
• anger when you want to spend time with your friends
• isolating you from friends and family
• trying to control your life (how you dress, who you hang out with and what you say)
• humiliating you, putting you down
• threatening to harm you or to self–harm if you leave them
• demanding to know where you are all the time
• monitoring your calls and emails, threatening you if you don’t respond instantly
• excessive alcohol drinking and drug use
• explosive anger
• using force during an argument
• blaming others for his/her problems or feelings
• being verbally abusive
• threatening behaviour towards others
• Pressuring you to send sexual texts and images of yourself
• Someone sharing any sexual text and images of you with their mates
Using violence to control your partner is unacceptable. It’s turning you into someone you don’t want to be and will have long-term effects on your partner’s physical and mental health.
Being violent can also wreck your prospects. It can lead to a loss of respect from your mates, loneliness and trouble at school or work. To manage your anger safely in the short term, you’ll need to recognise the physical signs of when you get angry.
These signs can be:
• your heart beats faster
• you breathe more quickly
• you get tense in your shoulders
• you start to clench your fists
Once you notice any of these signs and feel you are likely to lose control, try to walk away. If you can’t, try calming down by taking a few deep breaths and relaxing as you breathe out. Managing your anger in the long term can be done through:
• getting enough sleep
• avoiding drugs and alcohol
• doing something positive like sport to act as a release
• talking to family or friends about your feelings
Anger is not an excuse for being abusive towards someone and is never acceptable. If you want to talk to someone in confidence call the Respect phoneline: 0808 802 4040
It takes courage to admit that your behaviour is wrong and unacceptable. The good news is that you can change, as long as you really want to. Contact Respect for advice on how to stop: www.respect.uk.net
No. Relationship abuse can happen to anyone, including those who are in same sex relationships. If you are a male victim of abuse you can get information and advice from Respect on 0808 801 0327 (free from landlines and most mobiles open Monday - Friday 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm). If you are in a same sex relationship and you recognise some of the signs of abuse, contact Broken Rainbow www.broken-rainbow.org.uk
Many abusive behaviours in relationships are against the law. For example, if your partner hits you, it’s assault. If they force you to carry out sexual acts or force you into sex, this is sexual abuse or rape. Being threatened or harassed by a partner is just as much a crime as violence from a stranger. If this is happening to you do not confront your partner on your own. Please speak to a trusted adult or the police.
Never rush or push each other into having sex. You may think that all your friends are having sex but the average age for the first time is 16. Even then many people wait until they’re older. Sexual relationships also come with risks, such as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. You should respect your girlfriend for choosing to wait and not giving into peer pressure. Pressuring or forcing someone to have sex, who doesn’t want to, is rape. If you are older than 16 it is illegal to have sex with somebody under the age of 16.
If you’re pressuring someone to send you sexually explicit pictures (sexting), this is abusive and not normal. There are consequences – if you pressurise someone to send sexually explicit pictures you could get a reputation as an abuser. If you share the pictures and they go on the internet, this could affect your future education and employment as well as the person who took them. There are also consequences if that explicit image is shared without the victim’s knowledge or agreement. By sending indecent pictures of a person under 18 on to someone else you are breaking the law.