Domestic Violence – have we Normalised this Abuse?

Why is it that when we hear the words domestic violence, people often look the other way or feel very uncomfortable? It’s as if we don’t really want to know that it exists and think if we talk in hushed tones, others won’t overhear what we are saying.

In the media and throughout the community it is not given enough airtime or is toned down considerably. In fact, it is now called ‘domestic violence,’ when in reality is it simply an extreme form of abuse.

The statistics for domestic violence in Australia are shocking to say the least and expose just what really goes on behind closed doors in our ‘lucky country.’ These statistics don’t include the many incidences that go unreported.

When one woman is killed in Australia every week by a current or former partner (1), it is not an exaggeration to say domestic violence is a serious issue that needs addressing. Even if ‘only’ one woman was killed per year, it should be enough to send alarm bells throughout the community and the media.

The more serious cases might be reported, but equally harming are the cases that are not reported and accepted as ‘normal’ or diminished in everyday society due to the woman feeling that they don’t have the strength to report such incidences from lack of self-worth or fears for their own life.

There are so many women who are living on eggshells, tip-toeing around their partner like prisoners in their own homes, feeling powerless and anxious about how to leave their situation without further abuse, and at times simply doing everything possible to survive.

Our governments and politicians work tirelessly to ensure that our borders and country remain safe and protected from any terrorist threat or attack. Yet that same focus and commitment does not secure the gates and picket fences of suburbia. The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack.

Sure, we need to do whatever it takes to keep our country safe from a terrorist attack or threat, but if we are considering the safety of our citizens, then we need to look at what is happening in our homes every day.

It seems we have ‘normalised’ this type of abuse to the point that it doesn’t affect us or we turn a blind eye. Some might suggest ignorance is bliss, but these households are anything but bliss for women and children. And this is not just about women and children – men also experience abuse at alarming rates as well. Our teens also need support with the abuse and bullying they are experiencing everyday via social media or at school. It is obvious that there is a real need for many to feel heard and supported to know how to cope with abuse, and in how to leave an abusive relationship.

To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships with others and explore the abuse we are encountering in our own lives, no matter how small or large this may be.

What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse? If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.

I know for myself, I wasn’t willing to look at the abuse I lived with in my own life. I was abusing myself with food, unhealthy behaviours, drama and those self-deprecating thoughts that I would continually beat myself up with. Is it little wonder I wasn’t more proactive when abuse entered my own relationship? It wasn’t until I began to address the abuse I lived with from myself and others that I realised the cycle of abuse I had come to think as me was in truth miles away from the loving and precious woman I am, and that it was time to really honour myself and treat myself with love and respect.

So the antidote for abuse in my life was this self-honouring – listening to what I was truly feeling and not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way. The more honouring of myself I was, even in the simplest of ways, the more I felt an inner strength and deeper respect for myself. It was the simple things like eating more nurturing foods, having a walk, not allowing any self-deprecating thoughts, going to bed early, and surrounding myself with supportive and loving friends that made a significant difference to how I felt every day.

Then, over time, I became more willing to see the abuse I had accepted from myself and others without any judgment or self-bashing. From there, my commitment to not turning a blind eye to the abuse around me grew. I began to see all the areas of abuse, both large and small, that I had conveniently turned away from before.

I now know that when we stay silent or ‘keep the peace’ to avoid rocking the boat, we can end up staying in an arrangement that gives abuse a louder voice.

It is our silence that allows domestic violence to proliferate in society.

If we look abuse in the eyes instead of retreating as I once did, it becomes a powerful tool for change. It doesn’t need our aggression or retaliation, simply a willingness to stand up and speak out against even the smallest of abuses with each other and with ourselves.

And yes, it would be ideal to have governments, politicians and the appropriate authorities ensure that those who offend with this type of abuse, either in the community or online, are made more accountable for their damaging actions. But this must not take away from the fact of the responsibility we all hold, how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein)

References:

  1. Aic.gov.au. (2017). Homicide in Australia: 2010–11 to 2011–12: National Homicide Monitoring Program report. [online] Available at: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/21-40/mr23.html [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].

By Anna Douglass, International Flight Attendant, Mother, dedicated student of the Ageless Wisdom, Australia

Related Reading:
Domestic violence … Are we All Responsible for the Cycle of Abuse?
“Why did you stay?” An Insight into Abuse
Behind Closed Doors

947 thoughts on “Domestic Violence – have we Normalised this Abuse?

  1. We are incredibly powerful, both as one, and united together, and need to say ‘No’ to any form of abuse, ‘the responsibility we all hold, how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms.’

  2. Abuse starts with those little snide comments that run us down, and or making a joke about us or others and when this is not curtailed then it can lead to more and more aggressive behaviour’s, so stopping abuse start when we first allow this type of insidious behaviour to go unchecked as it will escalate into more abhorrent behaviour’s.

    1. Yes, those little snide comments that run us down is an insidious form of abuse, ‘What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse?’

  3. Anna you have posed an interesting yet distressing piece of information, its a global issue. Domestic violence (DV) within the home of any kind is unacceptable. Why and how as human beings, have we got to this state?

    Working in the health care industry, I observe more and more DV and it is becoming more and more violent, and sometimes scary, to the fact that even health care professionals are being affected, because of the retaliation to their own wellbeing.

    There is a root cause to this evil, not only for the offender but also the enabler. I don’t have any suggestions or magic solutions however I hope that more and more women, like yourself will one day say, enough is enough and take back their right to live equally as another.

  4. When I look at the abuse in my life I am more willing to deal with it and speak about it with others without tippy toeing around the subject. It allows others to see they can be the same around the subject of abuse (or any subject for that matter).

  5. When we abuse ourselves in small ways with food or lack of self-care this becomes a norm so we accept ever increasing harm and this is the same with domestic violence where what may seem trivial forms of abuse can fester and infect every part of life.

    1. Any form of abuse has to be called out and outed, ‘If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.’

  6. I remember having a friend who was in utter shock when I called her stupid once, she couldn’t believe that I would insult her in such a manner. On the other hand, I couldn’t believe that she reacted so strongly. I was so used to the insults I hurled at family members & them back at me that it was completely normal to call another person stupid, ugly, fat and so on. But her disbelief shocked me to see that we can have different standards & not allow such type of communication.

    1. Viktoria, I have observed aggression unfortunately in certain cultures where the woman is classed as second or third class citizen. Where has this come from?
      Coming from the background that I come from, women are suppressed from the day they were born, I have felt that from a long time. As women we have also allowed this, a generational curse passed on and there will be a breaking point, as this imbalance cannot and will not occur for ever.

      Women and men in their true essence mean the world will be a harmonious place to live in, evil cannot prevail for ever.

  7. Because we don’t set standards in the home, abuse is regarded as normal. It is interesting also to observe that for many abuse is something they see coming at them or see out in the world, tut tutting at how bad things are, but do we ever stop to consider that it is not ok to get frustrated at strangers when they are providing a service on a help line, for example, or that we tell our kids to be quiet in a way that makes them feel like they are a waste of space? It is interesting that this quote, which is an awesome one, was uttered by a man who could not stay faithful to his wife and who was self disregarding.. Easy perhaps to say but to truly inspire, what is said has to be lived by the body that says it – only then mountains are moved.

  8. Silence is what allows domestic violence to proliferate. In fact it is our silence that feeds it and grows it. So when the silence initially stops, there is backlash that happens. And hence people often step back into the silence as they feel not equipped to handle the backlash and are not willing to go the full way. This applies to any form of abuse in any house and home, not matter how small or big.

    1. Yes Henrietta, until we call out the energy of it, the abuse simply magnifies. When we are silent we do not remain untouched – the circulation of the abuse keeps going as our reactions, whether they are unspoken or not, keep feeding the pool of energy from where that abuse comes from. It is this magnification that leads to the overwhelm, nip it in the bud and we need not feel powerless in the face of the force.

  9. Interestingly on payroll systems they now have ‘domestic violence’ paid leave or compensation sections too! I was pretty surprised about this in terms of how much it has become the norm in our society to the point where we consider this with wages. It also makes me question how much responsibility we are taking or not taking as a society when we add this to the payroll systems whilst not really addressing it otherwise (or we could say the current means of addressing this is not really giving any lasting results)?

  10. “it was time to really honour myself and treat myself with love and respect.” Thanks Anna for your blog, it’s come at a time where I feel open to examining abuse in my life and getting rid of it. I appreciated your words also on it not being about judgement or self bashing, that it can be a learning experience for everyone involved and dealt with quite lovingly.

    1. Yes, it is important to look at how we maybe abusing ourselves, ‘I wasn’t willing to look at the abuse I lived with in my own life. I was abusing myself with food, unhealthy behaviours, drama and those self-deprecating thoughts that I would continually beat myself up with.’

  11. Living in the UK I was interested to know what the statistics where for the UK for domestic violence. Again the figures are shocking ‘In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2.0 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3 million women, 695,000 men).’ with there being a 23% increase and also this shows that domestic violence not only affects women but also men. (https://bit.ly/2Rbq1Mk). We are seeing this in much younger relationships as well now. I have known victims of domestic violence that even though they have been able to get out of the abusive relationship have still not known where to go for help or support and not felt this had been important for them. It is a very wise quote from Albert Einstein “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Says it all really.

    1. If we were to collate statistics, not just on domestic abuse, but on the everyday abuses we have so normalised, I think we would be shocked. It is so common to walk down the street and overhear people yelling at each other, being bad tempered with each other, shouting at their kids, kids pushing each other and bullying each other. Just in schools alone, the amount of children who are in tears every day because of peer on peer abuse is dismissed.

    2. Expressing what is going on, what is not acceptable, is an important part of our lives, ‘To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships with others and explore the abuse we are encountering in our own lives, no matter how small or large this may be.’

  12. With any aspect of life, when we choose to ignore something that is not okay, we are in effect planting the seed for that quality to take root and keep escalating.

    As is the nature of life, it will keep coming round for us to see again and again. And when it finally arrives on our own doorstep and we are the recipient of the atrocity, do we say “it came out of the blue”? But how can we say that, when we were complicit in creating the space for it all to happen in the first place.

  13. Once we know without a doubt that we are worthy of love, only then will we say an absolute no to any form of abuse.

  14. Until each one of us are very honest about the abuse in our own backyards and within ourselves then little will change out in the world.

    1. We need to be honest and express all that is not love, ‘It is our silence that allows domestic violence to proliferate in society.’

  15. Governments can pass law after law in an attempt to reduce the shocking levels of abuse in our societies but these will simply be paper band-aids, which will keep falling off exposing the rot underneath them. It is when society as a whole comes to understand that the extreme forms of abuse, that we read and hear about daily, begin in the lives of each and every one of us, as small and usually acceptable forms of abuse, that we may finally have the understanding as to how to begin the much needed healing process; one that starts with us.

  16. Most of us when we think about domestic violence we think of physical violence, but it is known that people can be psychologically and financially abused also. Its very true that we although many of us in our relationships may not sustain any violence in our relationships, but we may accept things that could be considered as not caring or not loving. Its important that we take the steps to be more caring and more loving of ourselves first, then this provides the foundations for all relationships and what we will and won’t accept.

    1. It’s true Jennifer, and we may accept abuse because we consider it lesser than the more extreme forms, we use comparison of something much worse to allow abuse in subtler forms in our lives.

      1. Anything that is not love is a form of abuse, it is important to only express love, ‘It doesn’t need our aggression or retaliation, simply a willingness to stand up and speak out against even the smallest of abuses with each other and with ourselves.’

  17. It sounds hard to fathom but many of us, women, men, teenagers, children don’t realise they can leave an abusive disrespectful relationship. I was saying to a group of teenagers the other day that if they feel they are in a unhealthy relationship then they have every right and deserve not to be. Some believe they don’t deserve anything better or more and that in lies a problem because if we don’t say no to abuse then we are saying yes, even when we don’t want it.

  18. “The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack”. This is a great point. Perhaps the Government and the media put lots of effort into things like terrorism because its sensational and a problem that is ‘out there’ rather than us having to face the daily issues in our homes.

  19. If we ignore the more subtle forms of abuse, telling ourselves it’s not that bad, soon we’re putting up with the more extreme forms of abuse, especially when what love is, gets skewed. I’ve been in relationships where I have let someone slowly degrade my sense of self because I was so desperate to be loved (rather than connect to the love inside that I am), and had such low self worth that I chased any crumb of approval whilst pretending to be confident and strong on the outside.

  20. There is a lot of public awareness around domestic violence and this is a great thing but really nothing will chance until both men and women start to address the hurts they both carry and do something about it.

    1. Yes, and stop going to war with each other using all sorts of weaponry from verbal put-downs and slights, to physical fights.

    2. We did an assignment in class today where we needed to graph our family relationships and what they were like over generations. What was clear and very exposing for many was the amount of abuse in all forms and hostility between couples. We would be horrified if someone we didn’t know abused us, yet we allow abuse in our families because they’re family or they’re our partner. Abuse is abuse no matter who is acting it out and it should never be tolerated.

    3. How do we treat ourselves, are we honouring, respectful and loving towards our bodies, ‘the antidote for abuse in my life was this self-honouring – listening to what I was truly feeling and not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way.’

  21. “So the antidote for abuse in my life was this self-honouring – listening to what I was truly feeling and not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way.” When one has low self-esteem ( that is fed by the abuser) it is hard to view the reality of the situation. Self-honouring, self-care and appreciation are great antidotes.

  22. ““The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein) This quote has stayed with me for years – ever since my twenties. If we just look on and do nothing we are complicit in whatever act we are viewing, and this an enabler.

    1. Agreed Sue its like we know something is not true, not loving and yet we allow it. When we allow abuse but don’t stop it are we not the enabler of that abuse?

    2. A teacher once said something similar in our secondary school assembly, and it stayed with me throughout my life, but I never took what was said and associated it with any other act of abuse, only fighting. Now I can see that there are many forms of abuse and not speaking up is one of them.

  23. It seems that we do not want to call out the abuse because we will have to take responsibility for the ways in which we have or do contribute to the abuse – it could be as simple as not calling out the abuse to ourselves.

  24. This is a much needed conversation as we are all suffering from abuse whether it is self-inflicted or from others around us. And as you say Anna we have normalized this behaviour. If we are abusive towards ourselves then it feels easy to be abusive towards others as it would feel natural. So it makes complete sense to me to start with ourselves but then we have to recognise that we are self-abusive and then ask why we are abusive? For me it starts with my thoughts realising that they are so self-deprecating and I continually beat myself up with them. If I am doing this to myself I wonder how many more people do this to themselves?

  25. domestic violence sounds so innocuous, and yet it is killing and wounding more people than most wars. Time to name it for it really is, and stop hiding this terrible behaviour we are allowing in our own homes.

  26. Sadly we live in a world where abuse is normalised and not taken as seriously as it should be. In the UK a new head of police was saying that they do not have enough staff to cover things like media abuse and abuse in general and she wants to focus on criminals and serious crime. What if abuse leads on to criminal activity? There is a lot more abuse in the world than there is criminal activity, and for me it does not feel true to ignore something that affects so many people that desperately need support when confronted and stuck in abusive situations.

  27. Normalised? Abuse is actually sought after – if you observe many relationships, partners joke on each other’s insecurities. The little jokes we make about our partner and their faults in the constant dig to bring them down just a notch so that they don’t realise their potential and ask us to step into our own. Insidious creatures we are, but if we dont’ dig deep and look underneath the surface our lives will always look honkey dory but our hearts will contract and contract and contract until one day we no longer feel like we have one.

  28. So true – we only hear about domestic violence when someone gets killed or something drastic happens. And every time this happens, the government is blamed, the system that is supposed to offer support, intervene and prevent this from happening is blamed for their failure, and I am wondering where we see ourselves ordinary people fit in this picture. There’s definitely an air where I live in general that says ‘I don’t want to get involved’ and we shut ourselves tight from our neighbours and alike, even though we might be gossiping about them. I am beginning to wonder if there’s demand for this whole set-up. It sounds horrible, but a part of the game we all are playing, an entertainment, really. We definitely don’t want to consider the possibility, let alone admit that we are allowing the abuse, and what you say about saying no to abuse by going back to self-loving choices is just huge.

  29. Domestic violence is not special. Anyone can experience it. It is usually self-inflicted because we have allowed it, by choosing not to be aware of our preciousness and we are blinded by ideals and beliefs that do not allow us to see how deeply sacred we are. We move in ways that do not respect ourselves and invite disrespect from others. When we see how shocking this is, we do not need to indulge in alarm, but simply moving back towards love in every step is the only and sure way to re-correct.

    1. When I look at all the times that I have allowed myself to be abused by others, I can so clearly see how I had already dropped my self love and respect for myself, by aligning to thoughts of low self worth. It was then easy for others to do the same to me, because it was of the same frequency and vibration of self abusive energy that I was already in, so it didn’t stand out as the abuse that it was. This happens less frequently, the more I build my body and can feel and say no to those thoughts for what they are- an energy that doesn’t belong in my body.
      It really does start with each of us taking responsibility for the quality of energy we are in, and committing to not allowing anything less than love, to the best of our ability.

  30. ‘If we look abuse in the eyes instead of retreating as I once did, it becomes a powerful tool for change.’ That is such a great way to look at it, it’s very easy to get caught in how we abuse ourselves and then abuse ourselves further by bashing ourselves that we abuse ourselves; it can be a never ending cycle, but seeing abuse as a point to see how we can deepen in our self honouring and how in fact it’s showing us that there is another level to that honouring changes that, and opens us up to seeing even more and honouring more and more.

  31. We are born from love and as such the entire nature of our true being is LOVE. To live divorced of this love is our deepest hurt. Such an existence creates bruises on our being well before any physical mark may manifest upon our skin.

  32. Abuse escalates often via stealth and incrementally and, as you say, everyone has the responsibility to call it out for what it is; if not, we end up accepting as ‘normal’ what is in fact heinous and pernicious.

  33. When we turn a blind eye in one area of our life not only that part turns dark for us but many other areas become inaccessible for us.

  34. And how wise Albert Einstein is and refers us to feel into a deeper wisdom — that is “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein)
    How can we understand this level of thinking? Or better said, how can we live in a way that allows such clear mind?

  35. We hear stories of abuse everyday new numb ourselves to them and we also know of abuse in our lives, that is horrific and life damaging and yet we still put a face on as we go into the world and are not honest about the devastation in our lives. Abuse is an endemic, and it is at every level of our lives and the more honest we are about it, the more free we are. We are making ourselves sick by denying it.

  36. It is very hard to understand how people stay in relationships that are abusive, and yet for those trapped in those relationships, they really do feel that there is no way out. We must talk about this more and more so that people can see the light really at the end of the tunnel.

  37. Our silence speaks very loudly and we cannot wait for the laws of society to speak up before we speak up. It is for us to set the standard and to call our laws and government to fall in line with that standard as it seems we may be waiting a long time for it to happen the other way around.

  38. It is a stark and horrific contrast to read about the borders of our countries being fervently protected while there are men, women and children who do not feel safe in their own homes from the people they live with every day. And whilst I understand and am aware of the many organisations and the people within them that work extremely well to support people in these situations, they are also overloaded with cases and are struggling to stand up against the tide of human atrocities that are happening within our own country borders. Therefore, it is time for some of the bigger parts of life to be addressed, such as how we as a nation entertain ourselves? How we educate our children? What values we live by in the work place? If there was ever a time for reform this would be now. But not a political one that just gives more power to those who crave it, rather a human reformation of the standards by which we are all willing to live by – but – this would require some pretty major role-models to come out and live openly with the love and the harmlessness that they know to be truly serving for all of mankind. So the real call out here is for those who know love to step up and be seen – this is how things will change, otherwise we are lost and going no where.

  39. Domestic violence has always been normalised – in the laws that allow one person to beat other family members, in large sunglasses that hide black eyes and much else.

    1. It is as though what goes on behind closed doors is somehow excluded and doesn’t concern anyone but those directly involved.

  40. None of us really want to know that we accept abuse everyday in one form or another. The only way to address the issue of abuse is to get very honest about this fact and let ourselves feel that there can be another standard to live by.

  41. I’m not sure there is anything worse that not feel at ease or safe in your own home. So many people are under the pressure of domestic abuse in a variety of ways. How is it as a world we change this? The Ageless Wisdom teachings have shown me this starts with me, with changing my own self-abuse to care, and to being that point of inspiration for all I meet.

  42. Anna thank you for your blog, it is a great reminder of how easily we accept abuse both from ourselves and others, it is not until we start to observe and deal with our own self-abuse and honour ourselves, that we start to observe how dishonouring others are towards us too.

    1. Once we notice, we can then make changes to stop the abuse and in many cases it is enough to change our own behaviour and the abuse stops.

  43. We often think of domestic violence as being something someone else does but if we are dismissive towards those we live with in any way then that is domestic violence. The more we open up to what abuse really is the more honest we will become about how much abuse we allow.

  44. We do see domestic violence as something that happens to others and not worthy of reporting on or disturbing the reading population of the general public who subscribe to newspapers. But what if every day every single domestic violence case was listed on one page of a newspaper to get us to understand how prevalent it is and to what extent we are ignoring this issue. I suspect it would be an eye-opener for most of us.

  45. The levels of debilitating harm that comes from this abuse starts from the subtle doubts that over time have to use second guessing our true wisdom and allow the head to take over from the ever-responding body.

  46. I saw recently on social media that incidents of domestic violence rise when a country looses a big match. The world cup in football is now on and there will only be one final winner……

  47. This is a very beautiful article Anna. Beautiful, even though it’s subject is horrible, because of how you hold up the truth and let it be seen for what is.

  48. Verbal abuse has become a norm these days in all kinds of circumstances. People seem to think that not only is it their right but an acceptable practice to say what they want and in the tone they want. Often I think to myself, would you want your mother, wife or daughter to be spoken to in that manner? The crime here is that no one is born that way.

  49. To make abuse going it takes more than two. The abuser, the abused and the others who play bystanders because are uncapable of differentiating abuse and normal behaviour. Abuse, only grows where there is social permission for it.

  50. The sad truth here being that because we have not normalised love, we have normalised its very counter – abuse.

  51. wow, this post really struck a chord with me. I decided after 12 years of domestic abuse (which resulted in me having to relocate with my children) to finally be brave enough to write about my experience in the hopes that it raises awareness.

  52. We can get more used to hearing about a type of abuse or more used to seeing it if it is happening all the time solely because the shock or impact isn’t the same after a while, but we should never normalise it or think that it is ok in any way.

  53. Looking at abuse in the eyes instead of retreating immediately exposes it for what it is – the awareness of this is definitely a game changer.

  54. It is not ok to ignore any form of abuse. Not only for the sake of the one being abused, but the fact is since love , care and harmony is the true nature of every one of us, the one who is abusing is also showing the signs that they themselves are deep down not so well.

  55. ” But this must not take away from the fact of the responsibility we all hold, how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms.” If we don’t stand up and say no we are ennablers and no better than perpetrators ourselves.

  56. There is a saying…”the abuse we walk past is the abuse we accept”. We don’t like to think that we accept a certain level of abuse, but in what you have shared Anna I can see that we do. Even though it may not be so obvious or in its extreme forms such as domestic violence. But through the care we show to ourselves, that which is not love stand out more and more.

  57. This is a very smart tactic and follows on from my earlier comment about addressing the microcosm so that the effects are seen in the macrocosm: “What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse? If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.”

  58. It is very interesting how we can get de-sensitized to what we see around us or what we experience in relationships as being abusive. It also appears that everyone has different standards for what is acceptable and what is not – so for one person to step away from a physically abusive relationship to a verbally abusive one is a great step to celebrate however, the violence is still there and nothing has really changed. Same could be said for a person who steps away from a verbally abusive relationship to another relationship with is emotionally manipulative. This too is a great step in the ‘right’ direction (if there is such a thing), but once again nothing has really changed… Until such time that we say no to all forms of abuse in all their myriad of ways of masquerading themselves. And as Anna has shared, this begins with being honest about what standard we hold our relationship with ourselves at first and foremost at, and how we can grow and deepen this first. Hence the ripple effects of the changes in the microcosm and how this then allows for true change in the macrocosm.

    1. The more we see abuse the more we are offered the subtle ways abuse can be lived in our world. Seeing more allows us the choice to live a deeper connection to what we know is more loving and reflect this to others. A choice to say YES to more love.

  59. Abuse comes in so many forms… None of which are acceptable…… And when we start to know ourselves truly, who we truly are, it will most certainly disappear, because it is not who we are.

  60. Giving voice to what we feel is abusive in this world is a very powerful choice to make. It outs the subtleties of where it is in our lives and provides a platform from which we can make different choices, ones that do not include any abuse. Choices that others observe and maybe, if they wish to, they too can begin the process of eliminating it from their lives. Such a domino affect could eradicate abuse from our society.

  61. We are at a stage in Australia where the government has realised they are not going to make the targets they set for reducing the rates of domestic violence they set when Rosie Batty started her campaign. The truth is they really have not considered why domestic abuse happens. You share here how we have to be prepared to look at where we allow abuse in our own lives and what we have taken as normal and it seems to me this is the only way to address abuse in the world – by addressing what might be abusive in our own lives so we can actually see the level we have accepted as normal that is not normal at all.

    1. Well said Lucy, and hence until such time that we are ready to really look at it and deal with it honestly, it will remain as an issue. We can ‘battle’ it till we go blue in the face, but the reality is that so long as we have our attachments and reason for holding onto these violent situations, they will continue to plague us. For we hold onto them when there is something we get out of it, however strange this may seem as witnessed with many women who return over and over again to abusive relationships rather than saying no once and for all. I was once in an abusive relationship and stayed in it till such time that I had had enough, but at that point I was also willing to realise that I had to let go of my attachment to being in a relationship and the fact that I could feel how sensitive my partner was and I was scared of hurting him by leaving. And yet this was exactly what was needed for both of us to grow and learn and evolve. Bottom line is that nothing will change till we are actually truly ready and want the change.

      1. I am touched by your reminder that one of the reasons you found it hard to leave is because you knew how sensitive he was and you didn’t want to hurt him. It would be so easy to stay locked into the hurt of what he had done but what you shared is that there is so much more to a person than their behaviour.

  62. “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein) I like this, as there is no judgment just an observation, which actually says, hey all we have to to is act upon the awareness that we have. Nobody asks you to come up with anything just live and express in the world all that you deep down know, feel and see.

  63. We all know that we deserve to live in a safe home therefore when we hear about domestic violence it goes against everything that we know to be true which is one reason why we want to turn a blind eye to it. The truth is we abuse ourselves constantly through the way that we live therefore we are going to accept abuse from others and not even call it abuse as it seems so normal until eventually it gets so bad that we have to take a step back and realise that if we stop abusing ourselves we will be able to say no to abuse from others.

  64. The moment I doubt myself, I have gone into abusing myself and this simple movement of dismissiveness that occurs instantly is deeply destroying. How can I do that to myself? And if that is not enough, I then can go into anger towards myself and feel sad because I am hurt for not speaking up.Yet, on the other hand I also feel an appreciation, an appreciation for that which has come my way to heal, something I have known especially recently but chose to avoid the responsibility to address it.

  65. Abuse is more easily seen these days, from TV news reports, newspapers, magazines… A kind of shock and sensationalised reporting of awful things… Maybe we have ‘normalised’ abuse as a way of numbing ourselves – a form of protection – from the absolute horror of it?

    1. Yes, I would agree, it is so prolific and even from organisations we have seen as good, that we numb ourselves or turn a blind eye just to cope.
      Yet each time we turn a blind eye we say it is OK because someone else is on the receiving end and it is not affecting us personally. My sense is that is how it works – it targets so it doesn’t get a mass uprising until it has such a stranglehold that even a mass uprising doesn’t have the footprint needed to address it and effect lasting change.

  66. Calling out abuse has to come from within ourselves first to have any truth and value in the world and makes all he difference to our imprint of abuse in the world to one of love .

  67. “I now know that when we stay silent or ‘keep the peace’ to avoid rocking the boat, we can end up staying in an arrangement that gives abuse a louder voice.” This is the stark realisation for those of us who thought that keeping quiet to not ‘rock the boat’ was the way forward, as we would not then have to deal with the potential onslaught of what may come our way. But it is clear that in doing this that the abuse is given the green light to continue as there is nothing stopping it.

  68. Saying ‘no’ to abuse always has to start with how we are with ourselves otherwise it is as if we are wearing a placard that says, “abuse me”.

  69. Domestic violence or any-form-of-abuse, simply can-not happen when we are energetically connected to our divine essence! So what energy are we connected to when we allow our-selves to be lesser than this divine connection? Could it be we are aligning to the ill energy because we do not understand how energy works? Or is it possible that what we understand about and the way energy works that we are unaware how it can effect us? And it is only when we have a purpose and commitment to True Love, which is our divine connection that we start to see the trees from the woods and thus how energy is working in and through us!

  70. I love what you say about self-honouring, Anna, as something that replaces abuse as we build it into our lives. ‘Not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way…’ is a point of inspiration that I cannot yet claim to have nailed – self-doubt creeps in quite regularly and so being honest about the insidious abuse this is, stops me being complacent about it.

    1. I like that you have brought it back to being aware of the moment to moment abuse that is always trying to come back in to our thoughts. This lack of internal complacency about our own self-abuse feels key to not accepting the lowering of standards in society around things such as abuse.

  71. Abuse is so prolific in our heads that it has to turn outplay in life in the form of violence. Only when we live in a way that is living to ourselves first will we not even entertain abuse.

  72. Our silence indeed allows the domestic abuse in society starting form our own lives and all the simplest things that we do and allow to happen.. This is presented in a true and supportive way and understanding of the difference we can make in starting to honour and love ourselves more and more and in this the abuse becomes obvious and no longer acceptable for ourselves and hence of everywhere.

  73. Have we normalised abuse? Have we ever! It is shocking what we allow or turn a blind eye too these days as we don’t want to take responsibility and see that we are all a part of it.

    1. This is great Rosie, can I add to what you have shared by sharing about “responsibility”, and by being responsible we start to understand that what we are dealing with is an energy that is simply changing us from the decent and respect-full people that we are into abusive behaviours, and this will be when we turn the corner on abuse behavioural energies and see it for where it is coming from, then we will stop sweeping it under the carpet or maybe the rug will be pulled from under our feet so we will see clearly the mud we are in.

      1. Yes it is great to see that the abusive behaviour stems from an energy that we have allowed to run us as naturally, we are not abusive. It is not who we are.

      2. So if we do not know that we are being controlled by energy and thus we still come up with these terrible behaviours, could it be that we can come to a position where we hate these energies that control us and humanity?

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