Domestic violence affected around 2 million people in the UK in 2018 (according to the ONS) and this number does not include all of those who are experiencing it but not reporting it.
The fastest way for attackers to discharge the guilt they feel over their actions is to blame the victim, to paint a picture that they ‘deserved’ it or they put them in a position where they ‘had to’. From the outside, their position looks indefensible, but when you are in the middle of that moment, you struggle so much with understanding why someone who you believe cares for you would hurt you in such a way that you grab at anything they give you – even the blame. It is the ultimate guilt trip designed solely to make you behave in a way that meets their needs and completely denies your own.
I have spoken to a lot of people about the guilt associated with domestic violence and many of those contacting me regarding the book are doing so because they recognise the cycle they are in, of knowing that the relationship has gone beyond what is safe, but also feeling that in some way they have brought it on themselves. One of the proudest moments for me is when these people (of all genders) begin the baby steps of living guilt free, and have that moment where they see the violence for what it is – an attack on them, with no justifiable provocation.
Living guilt free is much more powerful than you can possibly imagine. it can give you the strength to recognise a situation, seek out help, do what is safe and healthy for you.
If you have been subjected to domestic violence or you are starting to feel fearful around your partner or loved one, then please believe that you are worth so much more than this. Organisations such as Domestic Violence UK can provide support and details of ways to get yourself out of danger and with people who understand your position.