If she feels supported and encouraged, she may feel stronger and more able to make decisions. In a respectful and equal relationship, both partners feel free to state their opinions, to make their own decisions, to be themselves, and to say no to sex. In an abusive relationship, one partner tries to dominate the other through physical harm, criticisms, demands, threats, or sexual pressure.If she feels judged or criticised, she could be afraid to tell anyone else about the abuse again. Women in lesbian relationships, and men in gay relationships can also be abusive to their partners. She never judged me or made me feel like it was my fault. For the victim and her children, this behaviour can be very dangerous, frightening, confusing and damaging.Abuse in relationships is quite common, and is mainly committed by men against women. She helped me think about what to do, looked after my kids to give me a break, and was there when I needed her. Psychological or emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse.Abuse in a relationship is never acceptable, regardless of the circumstances, and is never the fault of the victim.Throughout the guide we refer to the victim as ‘she’ for simplicity and because the majority of victims are women.However we encourage supporters of men who are being abused to use this guide.Kate You might be unsure if what your friend or relative is experiencing is ‘abuse’.Maybe you just have some sense that something is ‘wrong’ in her relationship.
If they had said that I was a good person and that they were there if I needed them, it would have made getting out a lot easier.But it is equally worrying if someone is being abused and you say nothing. You might risk some embarrassment if you approach her and she rejects your support or tells you your suspicions are wrong.But if you approach her sensitively, without being critical, most people will appreciate an expression of concern for their well-being, even if they are not ready to talk about their situation.Don’t be surprised if she seems defensive or rejects your support.She might be scared of worrying you if she tells you about the abuse.