The topic of domestic violence in conditions of forced isolation has intensified in all countries of the world. When two are locked in the same apartment, there is more room for control. But it is more difficult for victims to seek help. But what if you yourself do not fully understand: is there an aggressor next to you, or is it just an emotional partner who is nervous because of the general situation? And what if you are stuck with an abuser not in Russia, but abroad? Let's analyze this situation using the example of the story of our heroine. We changed our name at her request.
About the fear of being in a foreign country with an aggressor
Maria arrived in France to visit the young man in early February. Soon, quarantine was declared in the country, and the girl decided not to fly away and spend time with her boyfriend: “None of us thought that this would result in a long border closure, but when air traffic stopped, I started to get nervous. We agreed that I would return home on the next flight. The young man did not mind, at that time everything was fine with us."
But when the couple started living together in a small town, problems began.
“Due to the reduced working hours, the young man began to spend a lot of time at home. One day, when I was taking an online course, he suddenly began to interfere with my studies. At first I played the guitar loudly, and when I went to another room, I turned off wi-fi, saying that I didn't need all this at all. Then he took the sim card, and when he didn’t like my reaction, he announced that if I left home now, I wouldn’t get back.
I had an experience of conflicts in these relationships, I knew that it was better not to start a quarrel. A year ago we were in a similar situation: he destroyed the room and would not let me out. Then I packed my things and flew to Moscow, and he began to write, apologize, said that it would not happen again, he would work on himself, blamed the cruel father and the unsettled relationship in the past for everything, admitted that he was rude with his ex-girlfriend, I was looking for a psychologist, was going to improve relations with my father. Then all these arguments worked.
This time I tried to improve relations, asked questions, said that if there are any complaints against me, it is better to voice them now. But in response I heard only a short "I don't want to talk to you" or a long monologue with mimics and unconstructive criticism. He could also suddenly stop speaking English to me, completely switching to fluent French, which I understand worse. On my "I don't understand" I received only "your problems".
The atmosphere in the house was tense: if she went into the bedroom, he followed me, went to sleep into the living room, he followed, without saying anything. It was scary: it didn’t touch, but it didn’t lose sight of it. At midnight I could not sleep, and in the morning everything suddenly seemed to be nothing: an offer to take a walk with the dog, as if nothing had happened. It was strange and intensified the feeling of anxiety: when a couple has a normal relationship, both are experiencing a conflict, trying to recover, discuss."
Maria explains that this situation has become another signal for her - the relationship needs to be ended: “I chose the path not to provoke a person and just wait for my flight. Even then I decided that this relationship has no future."
On May 19, there was an evacuation flight on which Maria flew home to Moscow: “Before leaving, everything was fine, there was again a caring, loving, charismatic guy next to me who brings home cakes before leaving for work. It was a familiar story, just like the last time. I had neither the strength nor the motivation to sort things out, discuss what had happened, everything was decided in my head, I just had to wait for the flight. The young man perceived my desire to fly away adequately. He saw how difficult it was to find a free flight, it was necessary to send the same information a hundred times, either to the embassy or to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - it was a whole quest. Finally I found a plane that was leaving in a week. Before departure, we did not have any conflicts, and we parted in normal relations."
Why am I ready to forgive again
“While I was in France, of course, I didn’t know how it would end: I didn’t rule out aggression, so I decided that if something happens again, I’ll go to the police officers who were on duty not far from my house,” says Maria. - As a last resort, I thought to contact our mutual friends. I believed that they would come to the rescue, although I understood that they had never seen my young man like that: he, as they say, is the “soul of the company,” such people show aggression only behind closed doors. My story became known thanks to the You Are Not Alone project, where it was first published. There were many comments and among them - a recommendation to contact the help service for women who have been subjected to violence. They are in many countries, I learned the French number of the organization."
When Maria flew home, she called her boyfriend, explained everything, offering to leave. He apologized, said that he understood everything and asked to remain friends:
“At first I felt a great relief, I was satisfied with this option, but now I understand that it was necessary to put an end to it, because history repeats itself: he writes long messages with apologies for each situation, promises to improve. I'm trying to find the strength to block him and forget about this relationship, but I'll be honest, somewhere deep down I want to give him a chance. I understand intellectually that you need to get out of this situation with a psychologist, because otherwise everything will remain as it is. Distance also plays a role here: the situation has changed and bad moments have smoothed out, although this does not justify it."
When asked when Maria first began to notice aggression behind a young man, the girl replies: almost immediately, but she did not want to pay attention to the alarm bells.
“At first everything was very good, but now, analyzing the events, I recall, for example, that I attributed excessive attention and care to the fact that I was simply not used to such treatment, that it was great, and at some point I simply let go of my distrust. She also turned a blind eye to aggressive driving. Two years ago, I left him for Moscow, where the World Cup was taking place at that time, we walked a lot with friends around the city, and the young man began to show very strong jealousy. It was unpleasant, but then he explained everything by the experience of unsuccessful relationships in which the girl cheated on him, and promised to change. In this regard, I want to advise girls to always listen to their intuition: if you feel that something is wrong, it is not without reason. I can't say that I ignored all these "bells", but there were a lot of good things in our relationship, so I thoughtthat I find fault with a person, that I need to talk, to show empathy."
About the fear of talking about the problem
“Even now, after what happened, I feel guilty for giving the person a second chance. This is one of the reasons why I was afraid to make this situation public. On the one hand, in moments of anger and resentment, I wanted to shout to the whole world and do it not anonymously, so that people understand that this is happening and these are not just stories from the Internet. On the other hand, like many girls, I was afraid of condemnation: and so I feel like a victim, why do I need more criticism, which will certainly be."
And so it happened. When the story was first published in the support group "You are not alone" - which is important, a specialized platform - there were a lot of words of support ("and they helped a lot"), but there were also comments like "from the first lines we hear an excuse, the boundaries are open, you can fly away "," she suffers, so she likes it "," probably he pays for her … ".
Maria says that she was partly prepared for this: “I myself could reason that way until I faced aggression. In one way or another, there were girls in my environment who suffered from moral or physical violence. I offered them help, but, like many others, I had such a reaction to these stories: “he, of course, is wrong, and this is terrible, but you don’t leave”, “I don’t justify him, but all the questions are to you". Now I understand that it's hard for many to even tell about it.
Aggression cannot be justified by anything; you need to get out of the situation with the help of specialists, not being afraid to immerse yourself in special literature. At the moment I have read two books and some of the moments in them were really scary, because they described what happened in my life. I read and constantly nodded: "Yes, I went through this", "Yes, and it was." Getting out of a toxic relationship isn't easy, and words of encouragement and empathy are very helpful."
What if you become a victim of violence?
Write a statement to the police. If there is no reaction, write a complaint to the head of the department or department - up to the Minister of the Interior. If this did not help, send the document to the prosecutor's office, citing the inaction of the authorities. If health is damaged, you can go to court.
It is also worth contacting crisis centers, where they will provide both psychological and legal support.
Center "Violence.net": 8-800-7000-600, www.nasiliu.net;
Sisters Center for Sexual Abuse Survivors: 8 (499) 901-02-01, www.sisters-help.ru;
All-Russian telephone number for women victims of domestic violence: 8 (800) 700-06-00, www.anna-center.ru;
Network "You Are Not Alone" to help women who have already faced domestic violence and to prevent possible incidents of violence: www.tineodna.ru;
Center for Childhood and Motherhood Support in Crisis Situations (rendering assistance to single mothers) "Light of Hope": 8 (952) 226-63-13, www.svet-nadezhdi.ru;
Hotline for emergency psychological help: 8 (495) 575-87-70;
Psychological assistance to women in difficult situations: 8 (495) 282-84-50.
If you do not have the opportunity to openly seek help, call the Mixit brand hotline and, under the guise of ordering cosmetics, say the code phrase "purple ribbon". This will tell the operator that you are in trouble. He will ask you leading questions, which can be answered in monosyllables yes-no, and in case of serious danger he will call the police or transfer the data to the center "Violence.net"
Mixit hotline: 8 (800) 550-98-70
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