Nick Clegg, the deputy PM, who has managed against all odds to make the previous holder of the post, John Prescott, seem trustworthy and endearing, has now suggested that we need to amend our approach to domestic violence. Mr Clegg believes that instead of dwelling only on the physical assault that has taken place between two previously loving partners, we need to look at the bigger and much more complex picture.
Nick, in fact, wants to go even further and see to it that controlling behaviour becomes criminalised and the the abuser in strongly penalised for the heinous crimes. This is just about the best thing that has ever come out of his mouth, as victims of verbal and mental abuse are amongst those who suffer the most in silence.
There are many who have been unlucky enough to be involved in a relationship where one partner meted out psychological abuse on the other, and the victim lives a half life in a twilight world where they are drained, and weary and have had all their self confidence sucked from them, ultimately giving the abuser complete control
One of the big problems from suffering this kind of mental abuse is that due to to their being outward, physical signs, it is much harder for others to see what is happening, and the mental scars that come from none physical abuse remain a lot longer than bumps and bruises and cuts and it is very real indeed for the sufferer.
Another problem for the sufferer of mental abuse is that 9 times out of 10 they don’t actually realise what is going on. This may sound strange to outsiders but the abuser is so clever with their mind games and increases the abuse over a long period of time so that the victim accepts what they are told and end up feeling ugly and worthless and believing everything they are told.
They often feel that something is wrong but can’t quite put their finger on it, they think they deserve the criticism that is delivered to them on a daily basis, and public humiliation is all too common too. To be insulted and put down in public is something you wouldn’t do to an animal, but a victim expects it, thinks they deserve it, and more often than not actually apologise.
Too many are under the misconception that those who have lived with domestic violence are battered and bruised and carry battle scars, but those scars that can’t be seen never heal, and the rebuilding of a crushed spirit and getting rid of the self loathing is something that can take years, if ever.
Years later, when you think you have put it behind you, a word, or a situation, or even reading an article can trigger off the memories and bring everything you’ve worked so hard to bury come flooding back. You are instantly taken back to that time, and the fragile, pathetic human being you once were is back, the self loathing returns, and all you want to do is crawl into a corner.
Victims of non physical abuse aren’t stupid, or desperate, they are ordinary people who fall for someone who seems like the greatest thing since cut bread to everyone else, but behind doors inflicts horrific mental torture on their supposed partner. They feel worthless and lucky to have the abuser, purely thanks to the mind games they play and the power they have over the victim.
Nobody is saying that victims of physical violence are less so than the ones of on physical, but it is seriously time for mental torturers to receive the same treatment as if they had kicked and beaten their victims. In many ways they have, but it isn’t the skin that bears the scars it’s the mind, and the brain, and the heart…..