March 7th to 13th is UK SAYS NO MORE. This campaign’s aim is to unite and strengthen a diverse community of the public and organisations nationwide to actively take a stand against domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Domestic abuse and sexual violence can impact anyone, at any point in their life, regardless of their background, age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status or sexuality.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse can happen anytime and in any type of partner relationship. At times family members and extended family members can take part in the abuse. These include “honour” based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. The abuse an individual will experience will differ from circumstance to circumstance. The types of violence can include, but is not limited to, physical, economic, financial, online, psychological and emotional abuse, coercive control and sexual abuse.
It is important that we believe all victims of abuse, we respond by listening without judgement and offer support by referring to specialist support services.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is a term used to encompass any type of unwanted sexual act or activity, including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and many others. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, at any age.
It is important to remember that it is never the survivor’s fault. The responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator.
It is also important to remember that the survivor has the choice and control over what they want to do next.
Impacts on the victims
- Over time, the survivor’s self-esteem may be worn down. They may believe their abuser’s insults.
- The survivor may blame themselves for the abuse. It is not their fault.
- The survivor may feel a sense of shame, sadness and powerlessness.
- Low self-esteem, feeling unworthy
- Low self-image
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); including flashbacks, nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- If someone you know if feeling suicidal, please give them the phone number of a local or national charity / helpline that they can call for help
- Inability to trust
If you are worried about someone you know, reach out to them. Before you do that, make sure you have the information you need, such as domestic violence resources in your country, so you know where to signpost the person. You can also help them through their next steps. Remember that it is difficult and may take time for an individual to want to talk and divulge information about abuse. Be patient with them.
It will also take some time for the survivor to get back to being “themselves”. It takes work to undo what has been done to them. These survivors are courageous, respectful, powerful and resilient.
You can click here for resources.
Be kind to one another!