4th May 2020
This blog was shared with us by a survivor as part of our Reach In campaign. Find out more about the campaign and what to do if you're worried about someone.
I experienced domestic abuse as a young person, a long time ago, when social media wasn’t a thing, and I know this adds a whole other dimension to how you escape abuse. But being in lockdown has made me think about how, if this was happening to me now, this might be an opportunity for me to escape.
I had a safe, loving family but I still never really told them how bad it was for me – and it was very bad. At times my life was at risk. I managed to escape because he was forced to leave the area we lived; he was in trouble with the police and local gangs. So this was my chance. It’s this that makes me think about how lockdown might present an opportunity to escape for some. How the few months of physical separation from the person hurting you could give you space to think and a chance for family to help. I was lucky that my family home was safe, and I know that many young people do not have this. It is quite likely that, if this was happening now, even in lockdown he would still have had a huge amount of access to me through my phone. That isn’t to be underestimated.
But to any friends or family members who might suspect that your friend or your child might be being abused by their intimate partner or peer: use this time to talk about it. It doesn’t have to all be out in the open all at once, but you have the time to find out about their relationship, whether they are happy and feel loved and respected within it. Take the time to rebuild trust and relationships that might have been damaged by the perpetrator’s control. And then ask the question. Does he or she make you feel frightened? Does he or she physically hurt you? Does he/she control you? How are they using your phone and social media to still control and frighten you?
Listen and believe. Reassure them that there is help. Find that help together. Reach In.