Conversations - 19 December 2016

If you see any signs of abuse that worry you or make you feel uncomfortable, take a closer look and think about a safe way to have a conversation with the person you are concerned about.

The seven scenarios below show how someone wanting to help can name the abuse and its seriousness, and ask about what's happening while staying non-judgemental, calm and supportive.


He put his hands round my neck last night.

Oh, OK, that’s pretty serious.  What else has happened?

Not much.  Different things.  He wants his way a lot.

Like about what sort of things?

Who I talk to, where I’m going, it’s just because he cares about me.

It’s not really OK that he wants to control things like that.  And putting hands around your neck is actually really serious, I think we need to involve people that know about this stuff.

I think I can manage, it’ll be alright, I’m sure it won’t happen again.

Let’s phone the Women’s Refuge and have a chat with them.  I know that strangulation is a danger sign, it means that things are getting serious. We can get some help together, I’ll come with you.


Coercive Control

I need to get home right now.

Oh why’s that?

He likes me to be home at the time I said.

That sounds a bit controlling.  What happens if you don’t get home at that time?

He gets really angry.

Is there anything else happening where he has to be the boss?

Not really, maybe, he likes to have a say in what I wear.

Are you scared of him?  I mean if you don’t do what he wants, what happens?

Hmmm it’s OK if I just don’t challenge him.

That doesn’t sound so good.  You’re a free person, you should be able to do what you want.



Hey I heard you stopped being Facebook friends with Luke.

Yeah my partner wasn’t happy about it, he thought we were a bit too friendly.

Really?  How do you feel about that?

Oh it’s OK, he just worries that it might go a bit further, with Luke being an ex-boyfriend, I can understand it.

OK is he jealous in other ways, like what about at parties, can you talk to who you want?

Well I have to be careful, I don’t want to end up having to leave in a hurry or fighting when we get home.

I’m not sure that’s OK though.  Shouldn’t you be able to talk to and be friends with who you want?

I can mainly, it’s just sometimes.

What other times?

Well basically he hates me talking to other men and it’s always a big drama so it’s easier just not to.

He’s kind of controlling you though and that’s not OK. 



Hey I noticed you left the BBQ early, did something happen?

Oh yeah Sam wanted to leave.

So did you all have to leave – wasn’t he enjoying himself?  You and the children seemed to be having a great time.

We were but you know when he wants to leave we leave.

Why’s that?

It’s just not worth the hassle if he’s upset, we’re better off just rolling with it and doing what he says.

That sounds a bit like intimidation to me – like you have to do what he wants or else.


Threats to Kill

We had a bit of an argument last night, I’m not feeling that great, I didn’t sleep that well.

I bet, what happened?

Oh you know, we just argued, I shouldn’t have set him off, he got really upset.

Was it bad?

Well not really, but he said some scary stuff, but I’m sure he didn’t mean it, he was sorry this morning.

Like what did he say that was scary?

Well he said he’d burn the house down with me in it, he never would though, I know he’s not capable of that.

That’s scary though, I think that’s serious.  I saw a list of danger signs and threats to kill is one of them, I’m worried that he said that.  Is any other stuff happening, are you scared of him?

Nothing I can’t handle.

Maybe we should just get some more information or talk to someone?  I’m not happy that he’s made a threat to you.


More Violence/More Often

Hi, how are you?

I’m OK.

That’s good.  How did you get that bruise?

Oh it’s nothing, I just bumped into the door, it was silly really, probably just tired.

How’s things at home?

Good, the same, we seem to be arguing more often though than we used to.

That must be hard.  What happens?

I guess he’s just hard to please and the arguments have got worse.

Worse how – like physical? 

Sometimes.  We used to just have an occasional argument but now it’s like a minefield, I never know when things are going to blow up.

That sounds really hard and quite scary.  Does he ever hurt you?

Lately he has once or twice.  I’m sure it won’t happen again.

It sounds like things are getting more intense. I’m wondering if he had anything to do with that bruise?

Actually he pushed me.  Things are not very good.

OK it’s sounding serious.  Let’s talk about what we can do.  It sounds like violence is happening sometimes and I know that escalating violence is a danger sign.



Hey what time are you leaving today?

In about quarter of an hour, what’s up?

I just wondered if I could leave at the same time as you, leave the building with you to get to my car.

Sure.  Are you worried about something?

Well my ex has been hanging around here lately and I just don’t want a confrontation.

That’s doesn’t sound too good.  How often has he been outside work when you arrive or leave?

Quite a lot actually, most days.  He’s just sad that we broke up and wants us to get back together.

It’s kind of stalking behaviour though isn’t it if he’s waiting for you and it’s making you nervous.

Maybe, I don’t know, do you think it is?

I do actually.  I think he should respect that you don’t want to see him and it’s worrying that he’s waiting out there so often.  Is anything else happening?

Well to be honest he’s bothering me quite a lot with texts, phone calls, following me around, I don’t really know what to do about it.

It sounds like stalking to me and I read that’s a danger sign, what about we get some more information and see what we can do about it.


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