Abuse is not love: raising awareness of domestic abuse

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  • As a Marie Claire survey reveals that 55% of women have experienced fear around their partners, three survivors share their experiences to highlight the 9 signs of domestic abuse

    Marie Claire has partnered with YSL Beauty and Women’s Aid to produce a powerful film with three brave survivors to raise awareness about the 9 signs of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).  You can read the full feature, here

    It comes after a recent survey carried out by Marie Claire UK found that over half of readers have felt threatened by their partner after speaking to another person. When asked if they feel they have freedom in their own home, 48% said ‘no’. The same amount of respondents have been physically shoved or hit by a partner. 

    These shocking findings highlight the prevalence of violence against women in UK relationships. 

    The stats also show that 42% of women have been stopped from seeing friends or family members because of a partner. The survey also found that over a quarter of respondents have been forced to engage in sexual behaviour with a partner in the past. 

    To help our readers learn more about IPV and the signs of domestic abuse, we are spotlighting the signs of a toxic relationship and financial abuse and how to stop them from happening. On site, Frankie Herbert and beauty empire founders Sam and Nic Chapman open up about their shocking experiences. And, we have spoken to the CEO of Refuge to help you spot the red flags of an abusive relationship.

    YSL Beauty’s global campaign with domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid ‘Abuse is Not Love‘ is dedicated to shedding light on the daily behaviours that indicate you or someone you know may be in an abusive or coercive relationship. 

    On the partnership Farah Nazeer, CEO of Women’s Aid says: ‘It’s not always easy for women and girls to understand they are being abused. That’s why the campaign is so key to building awareness and showing what an unhealthy relationship looks like.’ You can hear more from Nazeer in our recent interview

    Women’s Aid ambassadors Alice Liveing, Phoenix Brown and Michelle Griffith Robinson shared their experiences with Marie Claire to outline the 9 signs which include intimidation, ignoring, blackmailing, manipulation, intrusion, humiliation, jealousy, control and isolation. 

    Liveing experienced IPV at 16 years-old, she shares: ‘Like many 16 year olds, I was desperate to be in a relationship and have a boyfriend. This guy seemed great at the start… But the relationship very quickly became abusive, both physically and emotionally.’

    The fitness influencer and founder of the GiveMeStrength app notes that the #MeToo movement and growth of social media have allowed people to spot the red flags in relationships more quickly.

    ‘If you accept certain partners or behaviours when you’re young, it’s more likely you’ll repeat that pattern as you get older,’ she shares, highlighting the importance of educating young women on what healthy relationships look like. 

    Phoenix Brown: Marie Claire launches a new campaign to raise awareness about the 9 'red flags' that indicate domestic abuse

    Phoenix Brown, Spice Girls’ Mel B’s daughter, experienced living through her mothers abusive relationship with step-father Stephen Belafonte. ‘All of YSL Beauty’s 9 Signs of Abuse feel familiar to me. For 10 years, over the period I was in high school, I was in a toxic and abusive household,’ she says. 

    The majority of intimate partner violence occurs between the ages of 16-24. As a 23 year-old survivor, Brown is dedicated to educating her peers: ‘I want any person experiencing abuse to know that it’s not forever, and that you’re stronger than you think you are. Even though you don’t think it will end, it can – it did for me and it can end for you too.’ 

    Michelle Griffith-Robinson: Marie Claire launches a new campaign to raise awareness about the 9 'red flags' that indicate domestic abuse

    Olympian and life coach Michelle Griffith-Robinson also sheds light on the impact of emotional abuse in the feature. She says: ‘From my experience, there are some common misunderstandings about abuse. People often think abuse is only physical… but as the 9 signs illustrate, abuse can come in many non-physical forms.’

    Griffith-Robinson has never revealed information about her abusive relationship. In Marie Claire’s short film, she cites ignoring, manipulation and jealousy as three abusive signs she has experienced. The mum of three shares her advice, saying: ‘I’d encourage you to log your partner’s behaviour. Sometimes a partner will gaslight you and make you feel like you’re going mad – taking note of their behaviours can empower you.’ 

    What are the 9 signs of domestic abuse?

    1. Intimidation – Instilling fear and gaslighting
    2. Ignoring – Refusing to acknowledge or speak to you 
    3. Blackmailing – Using threats to control your behaviour
    4. Manipulation – Coercing you into something against your will
    5. Intrusion – Encroaching on your privacy
    6. Humiliation – Putting you down and diminishing your self-worth
    7. Jealousy – Acting out of irrational paranoia, mistrust and possessiveness
    8. Control – Taking over your daily decisions
    9. Isolation – Cutting you off from friends and family

    Women’s Aid’s Nazeer adds. ‘By helping women spot the signs and promoting healthy relationships, we hope to give women and girls the confidence to seek happy, healthy relationships, and know how to get help if they are in an unhealthy one.’

    Look out this week as we share a week dedicated to highlighting the problem and how you can get help. 

    Women’s Aid is dedicated to supporting survivors of IPV. If you need help make use of the charity’s Live Chat and the Survivors’ Forum. You might also find the No Woman Turned Away Project and the Survivor’s Handbook helpful. Expect Respect is a prevention toolkit used to teach children and young people aged 4-18 about healthy relationships.

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