Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, it does not discriminate. It is used for one purpose: to gain and maintain total control over an individual. An abuser doesn’t play fair. An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimised, men also experience abuse, especially verbal and emotional abuse. The bottom line is that abusive behaviour is never acceptable, whether from a man, woman, teenager, or an adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal assault to violence. And while physical injury may pose the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain and your first step to breaking free is recognising that your relationship is abusive.

Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimised or overlooked even by the person experiencing it. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating, and telling yourself that it’s none of your business, or that the person might not want to talk about it, you might be wrong. Keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.

MAHA SALEEM,

Karachi.