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This article has been written to give general background information about Domestic Violence. Additional information can be accessed from web site links shown below. Cyprus Samaritans can help by listening in confidence to anyone affected directly or indirectly by Domestic Violence. We cannot give advice but we can put you in touch with people who can help you.


Adults experiencing domestic violence


Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Although the majority of incidents involving domestic violence involves men being violent to women, men can be victims of domestic violence too. The first step is to recognise that you are in a violent relationship which won't change unless you do something about it.


Domestic violence includes physical, emotional, sexual or mental abuse.


Physical violence includes hitting, beating, kicking, slapping.


Emotional and mental abuse includes threatening to harm you, constantly intimidating and belittling you, bullying you and controlling you in respect of denying you access to friends and family, preventing you from leaving the home, constantly criticising everything you do and finding fault with you, calling you names and telling you that you are worthless.


Sexual violence includes being forced to have sex against your will, degrading you and hurting and abusing you.


It may be that the abuse has been going on for some time - perhaps even for years. You may be staying with your abusive partner for a variety of reasons:


Staying for the sake of the children : Children are often aware of the difficulties in their parents relationships. Children who are brought up in an atmosphere of fear, anger, rows, violence, often suffer tremendously because of the situation at home. They may become introverted, withdrawn, start wetting the bed, have difficulty in sleeping, try to avoid school, have difficulty in concentrating at school, have problems doing their homework, are reluctant to bring friends home which can lead to lack of friends and isolation, can exhibit behavioural problems both in and out of school, can become aggressive like the abusive parent, can experience feelings of confusion, sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, and may be dealing with this by using unhealthy coping strategies such as eating disorders and self harm. If your abusive partner is hitting you, he/she can also turn on your children and they may be at risk of abuse.


It is also giving your child an unhealthy role model to follow and the child could grow up to think it is perfectly acceptable to be abusive and violent which means your child could act in the same way when he/she becomes an adult and starts forming relationships. It is better for a child to be brought up in a happy, safe, secure, loving home by one parent than be brought up in a home where a parent is abusive to their partner and domestic violence is taking place. You have a responsibility to protect your children as they cannot protect themselves. If you are currently in this situation you need to ask yourself are you really doing the right thing by staying for the sake of your children?


Staying because you still think your partner will change. Your partner has to want to change and accept he/she has a problem. No doubt he/she is blaming you and is unwilling to see that he/she has a problem. Unless your partner admits the problem and seeks help it is highly unlikely your partner will change and the cycle of abuse may continue for years and years. If an abusive partner is willing to accept responsibility that he/she has a problem, and gets help, through hard work and determination and counselling, workshops etc. it is possible to change and to learn new patterns of behaviour but the person has to want to change and want to do something about it.


Staying because you still love your partner . Yes, you may still love your partner but it is possible to love someone and for it not to be healthy for you to stay in that relationship and be together. Each time your partner is abusive to you he/she no doubt apologises profusely, may buy you presents, flowers etc. and promises not to do it again and that it will never ever happen again. These are invariably false and empty promises. Your partner probably makes you feel that you are to blame for the violence and everything is your fault. Each time your partner is violent towards you it may be easier for you to block of the violence and focus on the times in between when he/she may seem caring and loving. That is not reality and you need to be able to accept the reality if you are ever able to move away from your abusive relationship.


The one place you should be able to feel safe and secure is in your own home. You should be able to have control over your own life, choices and decisions. In an abusive relationship you are not able to do this and in effect have little or no control over your own life. Abuse affects your self respect, self esteem, self worth, often making you believe you are a nothing and therefore don't deserve to be treated better.


You deserve to be treated with respect at all times, to be treated in a caring, loving way. To feel safe in your own home. You do not deserve to live in an atmosphere of fear. You may be staying because your self esteem is already low from previous abusive relationships, and perhaps abuse as a child. When are you going to stop the cycle of staying in abusive relationships? If you love someone but they are damaging your health, your safety, your self esteem, and controlling your life - is it really right to stay with that person? Do you not deserve to be happy, to take control of your own life, to be in a loving relationship, to feel safe in the world? Everyone deserves that and you have the strength within you to change your life and to move out of an abusive relationship.


There are agencies who can advise on accommodation, on legal matters, who can give emotional support and counselling to help build up your self esteem and to help you to move towards taking control of your life. In Cyprus this service can be accessed by calling 1440 at any time. More information is available from the links below.


For children and young people witnessing domestic violence in the home


If you are a child or young person witnessing domestic violence in the home you may be feeling very alone, frightened, depressed, confused, isolated. Your school work may be suffering, you may be experiencing difficulties in making friends and relationships, you may be harming yourself in some way as a means of coping with the circumstances at home.


It is important to talk to someone about how you are feeling. 1440 Helpine is there to help


www.domviolence.org.cy  (site in Greek and English) Help-line 1440

www.childline.org.uk

www.supportline.org.uk


Cyprus Samaritans does not operate or control these sites and is not responsible for any of their content.  The existence of these links does not constitute an endorsement of the websites, nor the views expressed in them.  Your linking to these sites is entirely at your own risk.

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