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Abuse

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My rapist was my ex-girlfriend. I’m a man. We weren’t together at the time. Actually we broke up due to her being quite abusive. She took advantage of me while I was drunk. She then kept messaging me and saying how she was pregnant and now we get to spend our lives together. I was depressed for months. “A small gesture can turn somebody’s situation around, support survivors by ONLY leaving a kind and thoughtful comment.”

In a particularly resonant scene (from the show – Big Little Liars), the family is having dinner. Perry starts joking around, and pretends to be a monster, lurching around the table. The kids, who are delighted, giggle and run away. As viewers, we know that to Celeste, Perry can be an actual monster, but here he is being a fun and engaged father. That symbolism and duality reveals a frightening truth: Abusers are not shadowy monsters devoid of feeling or compassion ― they can be fathers and lovers and husbands; beautiful men and women living in beautiful neighborhoods with beautiful wives and husbands. We don’t ever really know what domestic abuse looks like from the outside. It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some tell-tale signs and symptoms of domestic abuse. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend,…

Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack. Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed. It is still abuse if… The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television, or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse”…

In episode 3 of ‘Big Little Lies’, the couple is drinking wine in front of a fire, a portrait of domestic bliss, when Perry finds out that Celeste and the kids are going to Disney on Ice without him. He accuses her of purposely excluding him, and grabs her roughly by the neck. When she protests that he is hurting her, he flips the statement around. “Oh, I’m hurting you? he scoffs. “Can we talk about how much you hurt me?”   It is her fault, he means. She hurt him first. He is the true victim. A victim might wonder, ‘Doesn’t everyone fight?’, ‘what is even normal in intimate relationships?’ In as much as it is important for victims to admit to themselves that what they’re experiencing is abuse, they also need to be emotionally ready to deal with the consequences. Once they recognize they are in danger, the…

Victims (and abusers) don’t always behave or look like one would expect. The show’s abuse plot line centers on Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman, a lawyer who gave up her career to raise twin boys. To the outside observer, her life appears picture-perfect: She has a stunning home; she has healthy children, and a gorgeous husband whose adoration of her is obvious to everyone. But as the show progresses, the facade crumbles. Celeste is deeply worried about her marriage. She uses the word “volatile” to describe it, but the more accurate label is abusive. While her charismatic husband Perry, played by Alexander Skarsgård, can sometimes treat her “like a goddess,” he is more often possessive and controlling. He is quick to physical aggression, choking, slapping and throwing her against the wall. Celeste hits back at least once in an act of self-preservation, bucking the traditional role of passive victim. Their fights…