Emotional abuse is still abuse

A look at emotional abuse and the impact of lockdown, by Davina Kallah

2020 was a challenging year for us all. During the lockdown, we spent countless hours with our loved ones. However, for some, they experienced not only domestic violence but also emotional and mental abuse. 

Being locked up with family members for an extended period is hard to deal with. However, for some, it was a lot harder. During the lockdown, many lost their job, which caused stress and pressure. As well as this, many were irritated as the lockdown meant that you were not allowed to go out. All of the frustration created from the lockdown triggered an outburst on loved ones. Even though some might not have meant to, it caused a strain in their relationship and the victim’s well-being. 

The police recorded 206,492 violence against the person offences flagged as domestic abuse between March and June 2020. This was a 9% increase in comparison to the same period in 2019. Even though these figures are increasing, some individuals are not reporting this. This may be because many are afraid to, or feel as though nothing will be done. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience a form of physical violence in their lifetime. This kills 50,000 women a year. 

However, where is the research on emotional abuse? Emotional and mental 

abuse is more predominant. When there is no black eye, a bruise, or a broken limb to point out, it is difficult for many to identify or report emotional abuse. Some victims might find it tough to establish what is emotional abuse, as this is not highlighted enough through social media. 

Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. It can cause depression, anxiety, PTSD and low self-esteem. Without emotional and mental abuse, an abuser may not have the foundation that enables them to cause harm to their victim. Emotional abuse might not lead to physical abuse, but it is still abuse. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the same reactions and consequences. Victims of emotional abuse, who might not have the proof of the pain they have endured, need the same amount of support.  

Even though it may be tough to relate to these victims, we should raise awareness about this issue. This will teach many that this is equally as wrong as physical abuse. By expressing our views on social media, we can present helplines and help victims acknowledge if they are facing emotional abuse. 

As individuals, we should take mental and emotional abuse more seriously. As there is a second lockdown, we need to understand the warning signs, how it is displayed, and how they keep their victim trapped in a cycle of abuse. Also, we need to highlight how an abuser can prevent emotional abuse. By using social media to present our opinions on this topic, we could stop this from happening.