Tonight I stayed up to watch a short film based on a true story called ‘Murdered by my Boyfriend.’ The film followed a young woman called ‘Ashley’ (her name was changed to protect her identity) who was in a four year relationship with an increasingly abusive, manipulative and violent man, ‘Reece’. The relationship inevitably ended in the murder of Ashley, however, like so many abusive relationships, the pair were happy and Reece seemed like the perfect boyfriend at the start…
Abuse can come in many forms, and it is so important to understand what is and what is categorically not OK in a relationship. Do not feel like you must make excuses for the person and never push those close to you away, as it is often them who see the issue way before you do. Here are a list of warning signs you should not ignore.
1. Repeatedly going through your personal things.
It is natural in a relationship for your partner to wonder what you are up to and a lot of couples share their passwords. However, you should never feel like you have to show your messages to your loved one; a level of trust should be established so that you should not have to constantly prove you are not doing wrong. If you find that your partner is consistently going through your phone or your social networks, especially if they do so without telling you first, do not ignore it. It is not OK.
2. Constantly seeking you to prove where you are and who you are with
Within the film, Reece asks Ashley to constantly send pictures of herself to prove that she is not with someone else. Within your relationship, you should always be able to maintain a level of independence. If you have already stated where you are going to be, you should not have to prove your whereabouts. If you, or the people you are with, are asked to validate where you are at all times, consider that a sign that the person you are with wants to have an unhealthy level of control over you. You owe it to yourself as an individual to walk away.
3. Physically hurting you, even if it was a ‘one off’
Physical abuse is never OK. It can never be justified due to someone being angry or being provoked by the other person. It is easy to sympathise with your partner, especially if they cry after they have hurt you in some way, but it is important to consider that if they have done it once, there is nothing at all stopping them from doing it again.
4. Manipulating you into feeling you are in the wrong
In an abusive relationship, it can often feel like you are constantly in the wrong and that you somehow deserve to be treated this way. If you find that you are constantly making excuses for your partner’s behaviour, whether it be to your friends and family or to yourself, take a step back and see it from an outside perspective. Would you allow a friend or family member to be treated this way? It may be that you have been manipulated for so long that it is hard to face or even see the truth, but even if you catch glimpse of it for a second, do not ignore it.
5. If you are made to feel guilty or are stopped from seeing your friends and family
As I said before, it is often those closest to you that are first to see when there is an issue. It is exactly that reason that an abusive partner will try and separate you from them as much as possible. If you notice that your partner becomes vocal about their disliking of those close to you and if they try and stop you from seeing them, whether that be through guilt or constantly rearranging your plans, hear the alarm bells. NEVER block those close to you out, as it is when you are alone that you are at your most vulnerable.
The important thing is to always remember who you were before the relationship, and stay true to yourself after. It is extremely scary walking away, especially when you feel like this person is your whole world, but you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to remain safe. Tell people what you are going through, and if you feel remotely scared for your safety, contact the police. Calling 999 may just be for emergencies, however, if you need advice or just want to make the police aware of the person causing you fear call 111 – there is always someone there to help.
With love from London,