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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. We have normalised drinking alcohol, even excessive drinking of alcohol. This then perforce normalises violence of all kinds.

  6. Domestic violence and abuse have been around for many millennia. Albert Einstein was trying to wake us up last century about it, but we have allowed it to continue. As the awareness increases, we will all start shouting louder that this cannot continue.

  7. “I began to see all the areas of abuse, both large and small, that I had conveniently turned away from before” – Anna this is very relatable, having dealt with much of the abuse i allowed in my life, i’ve been finding how the deeper the self-love and self-honour the greater the realisation is about the actual immensity of abuse i [and we all] live with, treat as normal, and is in need of healing – not through self-vilification or possible disgust but through deeper understanding and letting go to love.

    1. Absolutely Zophia the more loving we are the more abuse sticks out like a sore thumb, that which was hidden is now seen.

  8. When we support and empower people to regain their self worth, it becomes easier to weed out the lesser abusive behaviours and so debase the grosser acts. We all have a responsibility to raise the standards of engagement, so that respecting one another becomes a normal part of our interaction with our nearest so that they truly become our dearest.

  9. ‘It is our silence that allows domestic violence to proliferate in society.’ This is a super powerful quote and call to consider whether we are prepared to speak up about the ills we encounter every day or whether we are okay with going about our business in a chosen blindness and ignorance.

  10. Not to diminish the impact of domestic violence… but we as a humanity have made all forms of abuse our normal by not nominating it – and this starts with every one of us looking at our own lives in minute detail.

  11. If we look at the exponential expansion of obesity and the forever rapidly increasing waistlines, is this not self-abuse on a global scale? Are we also allowing to grow, that which fosters domestic violence?

  12. Why do we have domestic violence on a global scale if we call ourselves advanced human beings and how intelligent are we when we allow abuse to exist? It is way overdue for us as a race to address the course of abuse in mass. Universal Medicine is the first and only organisation that I know who understands exactly what is going on, why we abuse ourselves and each other, and openly shares the answers to the root cause of abuse and how we can arrest this energy.

  13. As a counsellor, I am privy to a lot of disclosure about what happens in families behind closed doors, and it still shocks me how common it is for family members to hit, thump, smack and even threaten with knives, never mind the emotional abuse of constantly diminishing and degrading one other. If this the reality of everyday life, we urgently need to examine how we are condoning this way of being in relationship and bring it to an end.

    1. Yes, it is shocking how common, how ‘normal’ it is. What utter desperation to feel the need to behave like this.

  14. I remember a time not that long ago when the police if called out because of violence in the home would discern whether it was violence between partners and if so would say this is a domestic issue and we cannot intervene! I know things have changed but how long was that state of affairs considered acceptable? The law of the land actually condoned a man beating his wife or vice versa.

  15. The more we address the minor expressions of abuse, the more we erode the platform for gross abuse to occur. This calls for an astute attention to the detail in life, to restore integrity to our every movement, word and step. Might seem a tall order, but when applied brings immense and very trustworthy change.

  16. When we understand what feeds abuse this will support us to heal the root cause. Albert Einstein’s quote exposes the evil behind what enables abuse and fuels it.

  17. As a society we normalise what we don’t want to deal with until a problem reaches such epidemic proportions and such a level of depravity – and more importantly, affects us personally – that we can no longer turn a blind eye and are practically forced, kicking and screaming and way down the track, to pay attention, speak up and say, “enough is enough”.

    1. Why do we have to reach a tipping point or the straw that broke the Camel’s back, before we stand up in unison and say this is enough? And, how many times is this unison of outrage a temporary form of relief, and then, we allow the issue to return so its slowly simmering away on the back burner of the stove once again?

  18. “how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms” I think it is also our power that scares us and stops us from standing up, and that we dont really allow ourselves to feel the incredible horror and harm of the fact that 1 woman is killed every week from this type of abuse.

  19. The abuse of ourselves is so pernicious and common that we don’t even notice the criticism thoughts they are just normalised.

    1. This is pretty crazy Vanessa, society on a massive scale has normalised abuse but find it challenging to normalise love. Something does not add up here and we have a responsibility to expose what is going on.

  20. I can only imagine what if feels like to live in the constant fear of an abusive relationship, no one should have to live that way never knowing when it is about to kick off again. The statistics are appalling and that is not taking into account all the unreported cases. It really is a behind closed doors problem as without the stats or being directly involved in some way most of us go about our lives not knowing the full extent of the problem.

    1. The impact of the fear on the children is also unreported but seen clearly in schools where children with emotional needs often have born witness to domestic abuse like seeing their mother strangled, beaten, shouted at or constantly belittled.

  21. Abuse starts with the re-interpretation of words, so when we do not understand the energetic truth that words come with then we are abusing another not only with words but also our thoughts. So the depth of abuse goes beyond what is seen by the eye because it is also about a certain word that is not true.

    1. Greg you take this right back to its route, we see abuse as something extreme but what if we looked at abuse being anything less than love and truth? Now that shows us the real state of abuse in the world.

  22. It is a stop moment for me to think that every week a woman dies at the hand of violence from someone she knows. It is without question not acceptable for this to be the case, and yet as a society we allow it to be so. Blogs like this bring it to the attention of the world, thank you.

  23. The statistics are shocking and this is in just one country! But what are these statistics saying about us as a human race? What is it about us as a collective that feels that any form of violence is acceptable towards ourselves or each other? This blog is highlighting that something is seriously amiss with our current way of living where we do just accept abuse as part of normal everyday life.

  24. If love is our measure, then we have not just normalised Domestic Violence but many other types of abuse too.

  25. Abuse is abuse in any form and as we allow it in small ways this brings a tolerance that more and more extreme becomes acceptable as does the lowering of our values. Making changes in the smallest things can can make so much difference in the world if we all live and honour our truth and this is so beautiful bringing true responsibility to ourselves.

  26. We can normalise just about anything when we want to avoid responsibility so we need to look at what our relationship with responsibility is.

  27. My feeling is that people look the other way or look uncomfortable when domestic violence is mentioned as we all have a part to play in it… in all it’s varying shapes and sizes.

  28. “The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack.” And yet we spend billions on defence and preparation to go to war. We need to understand what leads to being so disconnected that we would even consider domestic abuse as a thing and start work there on our relationships in our own homes and our own lives. We have to start making it personal if we want to address the global problems that we deem more important.

    1. It is crazy and shows how much of it is about the influence of the political and media influence. With their focus on red herrings rather than the stark facts.

  29. When we accept – the ‘way things are’ without discerning from a true marker we lower the benchmark and allow abuse into our lives.

    1. And the thing is, we may on one level ‘accept’ the way things are, but deep down we know we feel uncomfortable about them, and that something doesn’t feel right. Chat to anyone on the bus, train, colleagues, clients, neighbours about life and it’s not long after scratching the surface of life that underneath that surface there is despair, sadness, disappointment, shock, anger, about so many things in life at this time. And while we are not talking about the way life is at the moment, this is all bubbling just below the surface. We do know when something is abuse.

  30. We become familiar with what we accept to not have to face our own responsibility. Starting to become responsible for what we are aware of is like turning on a light and seeing things for what they are, we can then start to make changes and to discuss what is no longer acceptable as our way of life.

  31. ‘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.’ So true Anna . We need to de-base what abuse is and not accept it in any form.

  32. I find that there is a huge difference in my response to what goes on around me dependent on whether I am in a state of seeking security, or if I am in a state of emanating love. Nothing shows this difference more than the moments when I find myself in an abusive situation. The security seeking self will either duck and avoid facing the scenario or judge and attack, and she always comes away affected by the event. The love focused self remains steady, observing and nominating the energy at play through the people, and words if spoken have power but no harshness.
    A world of difference, which points out the responsibility we each have in the self we take to any situation which in turn is dependent on the love and care we have been living.

  33. Knowing how to leave an abusive relationship is a key life skill that requires a great deal of honesty from society about every facet of what abuse actually is – in all of its gross and most subtlest of ways.

  34. Recently I stepped down from a voluntary work project that was not really evolving in which I could feel I had been hardening myself to force myself to lead in challenging temporal circumstances. This was in fact self-abuse, I can see that now. The greater love of others came in stepping away rather than bolstering up and trying to fill the gaps.

  35. It is abusive to think badly of ourself or another. The counter to this is to step back and do the reading.

  36. ‘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.’ Great point Anna , we need to uncover what abuse truly means and get down to the detail of the effect it has on all of us.

  37. Have we not created the mess of language by improving things that were not broken? What is a single definition of most words? Many words in the dictionary show the meaning of the word and its first recorded use and how the meaning over time has evolved or mutated into something completely different. Now is that Bad, but it depends on which meaning you implied for ‘But’. The list of bastardised words would fill a book, oh, it has it is the dictionary! Love, religion, God and abuse have just become words without meaning. Lexiconically speaking, we have trashed our vocabulary, and this is just another abuse we have allowed into our lives!

  38. “…To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships ….” Yes, there is always more space to explore and discover ways of bringing love into the way we live and move.

  39. It is fascinating that we use words to define and communicate things.. such as abuse. Yet at the same time what we are defining can be the subject of debate itself. i.e. what one person calls abuse another may not. Studying words and their meanings based on the quality they represent is the only way I can see to bring everyone back to a common playing field of understanding. When we apply this to the word abuse it can become the smallest of things like being spoken to in a harsh tone or an aggressive gesture.

  40. ‘Domestic violence’ …what does this term actually say? Do we tend to make less of this because it is happening with the 4 walls of the family home. Traditionally domestic violence has been swept under the carpet for generations, as so called ‘keeping face’ was more important than speaking up.

  41. ‘The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack’ we have a tendancy to point blame at others rather than looking at taking responsibility for our own choices.

    1. Great point Fiona, it is so easy to blame another rather than take responsibility for our own actions. It is only when we take responsbility for ourselves and the way we are living that things start to change around us and in the world.

  42. Self-abuse has to be really weeded out if we are serious about saying ‘no’ to abuse in our live. It is self-abuse that opens the door and this opening allows abuse to exist in our world.

  43. Domestic violence is indeed an extreme form of abuse that is being accepted and normalised with our diminishing self worth and honouring of who we all are by the way we are living in the world showing the changes that are needed to bring us back to the love and sacredness we all are.

  44. Mental abuse is rampant and yet we say there is no physical violence so it’s not so bad…words can cause so much damage when we internalise them, the harm can be hurt and effect the relationships of everyone. We should not underestimate the damage words can do when misused, abuse does not appear as a fist, that fist stems from a much deeper illness.

  45. What I am most shocked by is all that we accept because it is not the most horrific end of the abuse spectrum. We somehow feel we can excuse lesser forms of abuse, perhaps because we ourselves don’t want to be called to account and made responsible for our actions which ‘aren’t as bad’ as others.

    1. I agree! We seem to find it easier to look and comment on others than to make how we are in our own lives, with ourselves and our families equally important – be the change we want to see.

      1. Great point, it is all too easy to criticise, but what are we all contributing to, by our acceptance of anything other than love in any direction, for love is who we all are.

    2. Yes, well said Rebecca. If we demonise these extreme examples of abuse, we can hide our own transgressions under the cover of the ‘smoke’ we ourselves have created.

      1. Very true – many people say ‘but at this rate, everything will be abuse’, without stopping to consider that maybe the reason very obvious forms of violence occur is because abuse is rife in society as a whole in very passive ways we overlook and whilst it may be uncomfortable we have to face this

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