Many families live in fear. Domestic violence is the name for frightening and controlling behaviour that happens within relationships.
In all families there will be times when people feel cross and argue with each other. This is normal as not everyone agrees with each other’s point of view. It is ok to disagree and to have different viewpoints and ideas. However, it is not okay to hurt someone or to control them in a way that creates fear.
Domestic violence is when one person abuses another person, this can be in many ways and some examples include:
- silent treatment
- throwing things, slamming doors, punching walls, blocking exits
- hitting, kicking, punching
- shouting or threatening
- criticising and putting someone down
- making someone do something they are not comfortable with
- breaking things
- creating fear
- calling someone names that hurt their feelings
- not allowing visitors to the house
- making visitors feel unwelcome, or
- stopping someone from going out.
You may feel:
If you feel any of these feelings, this is completely normal! There is no right or wrong way to feel about what is going on. You may even experience a whole range of feelings at one time. It is important to trust your feelings and act upon them, remember, we all have the right to feel safe all the time.
You may think:
- you are the only one this is happening to
- maybe this is normal, maybe it’s just how things are
- it’s your fault
- if only there was something you could to help
- what if I grow up to be abusive? , or
- there is no one to tell or talk to.
Well, if you have had any of these thoughts, here are some things you should know.
Domestic violence is common. Approximately one in four families experience it so you are definitely not the only one this is happening to.
Many children and young people experience violence in the home. We work with thousands of children and young people each year who have experienced domestic violence. Believe it or not, they all have the similar, experiences, thoughts and feelings as you.
There is no excuse for domestic violence. Domestic violence is wrong, no one has the right to abuse or hurt another person.
You are not to blame! Domestic violence is not a result of anything you have or have not done.
You are not responsible. You may feel you want to intervene to protect your mother but this is not your responsibility. You need to keep yourself safe. There are other adults and organisations that can help your mother.
You may feel scared, anxious, confused, distracted, angry, sad, or unsafe.
If you feel any of these feelings, this is completely normal. There is no right or wrong way to feel about what is going on. You may even experience a whole range of feelings at one time.
It is important to trust your feelings and act upon them, remember, we all have the right to feel safe all the time. Talk to someone about how you are feeling, you will feel better when you do!
Young people who experience domestic violence do not necessarily grow up to be perpetrators. We all make choices in our lives and we can make positive choices. Abusive behaviour is chosen behaviour. You can choose to say no to domestic violence and abuse!
Help is available to anyone experiencing domestic violence or abuse.