A good, intimate relationship is based on equality, treating each other with respect and supporting each other. In an abusive relationship one regularly abuses, hurts or tries to control or dominate the other.
The well-functioning, intimate relationship
A good, intimate relationship is based on equality, treating each other with respect and supporting each other. Signs of a good relationship include:
- Spending time with each other, as well as apart;
- Mutual trust;
- Respecting each other’s feelings;
- Open communication (including conversations about sexual intercourse);
- Honoring each other’s needs;
- Being friends with each other;
- Mutual interests;
- Honest and open communication about one’s feelings;
- No use of any form of violence or abuse.
The abusive relationship
In an abusive relationship one regularly abuses, hurts or tries to control or dominate the other. This could be manifested in various forms, such as:
Examples include: shouting, bullying, public humiliation, threats.
Examples include: harassment, gossiping, throwing or destroying objects, jealousy.
Examples include: refusing to use condoms, pressuring the other into sex, unwanted touches, forced prostitution.
Financial or social abuse
Examples include: isolation from friends or family, financial dependency or exploitation, monitoring of emails, phone calls or messages.
Examples include: slapping, pushing, kicking, rough handling, pulling of hair or clothes, restraint.
Violence or abuse in a relationship usually gets more severe with the passing of time.
If you stay in such a relationship you may be exposed to severe physical or emotional trauma. Often times the abuser, after an outrage (e.g.: shouting or physical violence), will act very kind and promises the assault will never happen again, which makes it more difficult to break up with them. Unfortunately these are usually empty promises and their sole purpose is to plant false hope in the victim in order to keep them in the relationship.
Early warning signs
Most abusive relationships start off very romantically, but if you know the warning signs, you can recognize early on that your partner is trying to control you. The earlier you realize that the relationship is not working the easier it is for you to get out.
Warning signs include:
Constant or irrational jealousy, or getting angry when the other wants to be with friends or family;
Wanting to know where the other person is at all times;
Unpredictable mood swings;
Threatening to leave if the other doesn’t do what they wish;
Insistence on classic, traditional gender roles;
Forcing of unwanted or non-consensual sexual acts;
Trying to make the other feel guilty if they don’t act the way they are expected or told;
Threatening to hurt themselves or the other if they want to leave the relationship;
Learning of their history of violence in previous relationship(s).
Are you considering breaking up?
If you are in an abusive relationship, you might feel like you have no one to turn to. But this is when you have the greatest need for support. Do not forget: you’re not alone! A lot of people are in similar situations! However, this does not mean that abuse is acceptable. Your partner must treat you with respect, even if he doesn’t like something. You do not need to tolerate any violence!
Breakup is the most dangerous phase of violent relationships. At this stage it is especially important to ensure your safety, and to seek external help if necessary. Friends, relatives, and teachers can help you. Find someone you trust, and prepare together a security plan:
Think about how you can leave if your partner behaves frighteningly!
Map safe places you can go to! If you wish to break up, do not stay alone with the abuser!
Keep with you the phone number of the police or of a trusted adult!
Make sure that a trusted person always knows where you are!
Agree on a secret keyword that you can use if you need help!
If you find that some of your friends or relatives don’t listen to you, or blame you for what happens, you do not have to talk to them. You can look for someone who understands and supports you.
Whom may I turn to? Where to get professional help?
Harassment, as well as sexual and physical violence are all illegal, even if the perpetrator is a current or former partner. If a crime has been committed against you, you should turn to the police. If you have been physically injured, seek a doctor’s advice.
General emergency number: 112 › Police: 107
If you have suffered violence, are helpless and afraid in your relationship, or a friend of yours is hurt and you don’t know how to help, you can call the following free, anonymous hotlines:
NANE Hotline for abused women and children: 06-80-505-101 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 6-10pm, Wednesday 10am-2pm)
Hotline for victims of sexual violence: 06-40-630-006 (Mondays 10am-2pm, Wednesdays 2-6pm, Friday 10am-2pm)
The first version of this flyer was created within the European project called Heartbeat, funded by the European Commission Daphne program. The project’s aim was to support young people through targeted workshops in the prevention, detection and treatment of domestic violence. The exercises used during the sessions are included in the manual Heartbeat, which we recommend for teachers and youth workers, also as part of a training. It is freely downloadable from NANE Association’s website.
You can download the flyer here >>>
NANE Helpline for abused women and children +36 80 505 101 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 6pm -10 pm, Wednesday 10am-2pm)
Published by NANE (Women’s Rights) Association 1447 Budapest, P.O.B. 502. www.nane.hu e-mail: email@example.com
This article is based on the flyer published in 2016 with the help of NGO Fund of the EEA/Norway Grants. The flyer can be freely photocopied and distributed in its entirety.