Acknowledging The Ugly Truth

July 2024

We've just ticked over into July and a handful of new laws and rules, have come into affect and there's one in particular that I'm really happy about: Coercive control is now a criminal offence in NSW.
Coercive control is a form of domestic violence and I'm glad it's being recognised and acknowledged as something that happens (unfortunately) and something that is totally wrong and unacceptable. And I sincerely hope that this legal change will reduce the number of incidents and for those that do it, hold them accountable.
So what is coercive control? Well, to quote directly from the NSW government site on the topic, 'Coercive control is when someone repeatedly hurts, scares or isolates another person to control them. It’s domestic abuse and it can cause serious harm, so it’s important to know the signs.'
This shows up as different for everyone and often, the person who is being abused, doesn't want to report it or talk about it. Why? The reasons range and vary. Some examples are:
  • The abuser is "hot and cold" with the abuse, so the recipient is constantly waiting for it to get better (because when it's good, it's like nothing bad ever happened).
  • The abuse is so constant and starts off so gradual, that the recipient doesn't realise it's happening until it's extremely bad. (In these cases, outsiders usually notice it first.)
  • There are violent consequences for the recipient if the abuser is confronted about it and especially if the police are involved.
  • The abuser is usually the intimate partner of the recipient and parent of their children.
  • The recipient is financially dependant on the abuser and there are large financial repercussions for the recipient if they say or do something about the abuse.

Everyone should be aware that abuse and domestic violence isn't just about the physical. It can be (and often is) the non-physical too. And for too long, the non-physical acts have been what abusers have been getting away with; Because it used to be that, until the abuser crossed the line into physical abuse, it was incredibly hard to prove or do anything about the non-physical abuse. I'm really hoping that this change in law will get these abusers caught and that they get just punishment.
There is NO EXCUSE for this type of behaviour. Abuse is NOT okay.
I've written before about the various types of abuse and I'm reluctant to write about it again here - mostly because it's a topic REALLY close to home and even though years have passed for me since it all happened, it's still an emotional topic. However, I will quote again, from the NSW government site that I think sums up coercive control quite well:
'Coercive control can involve any behaviour which scares, hurts, isolates, humiliates, harasses, monitors, takes away another person’s freedom or unreasonably controls their day-to-day activities. It can include physical violence and sexual abuse, but it doesn’t have to.'
As a recipient of coercive control, you'll likely spend your days living in fear and walking on eggshells. You never know when the next outburst will happen, you never know if you'll say or do something wrong, you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop and you've likely forgotten what it's like to feel safe and not be on guard. You likely will have many internal arguments with yourself about whether to stay or leave. All I can say about that last part, is that if you;ve found yourself nodding in agreement with everything that you've just read and this is feeling all too familiar, it's likely that reporting this and leaving, is an overdue move. I know firsthand, that it's hard and that you feel all alone, but I'm telling you that calling it out and walking away from the abuse, is the best thing that you can do. There's a much more peaceful way of life waiting for you!
If you're one of the lucky ones who are in a loving and respectful relationship and this kind of abuse doesn't happen, please do keep an eye out for friends and neighbours. A lot of this abuse happens behind closed doors but if you watch closely enough, you'll notice the slips in behaviour of the abuser. It's important for everyone involved to speak up if you're suspicious of anything abusive occurring.
And let me add that the typical victim for narcissists, are not who'd you'd probably expect. A typical target are the high-achieving, intelligent women, who are empathetic, friendly and beautiful. (Likely because a narcissist feels threatened and feels the need to dominate and assert their authority to make themselves feel better.)
If you'd like more information on coercive control and abuse, head to the NSW Government website on Coercive Control.
If you're in immediate danger, call 000 (in Australia). There's also a NSW Domestic Violence hotline for those not in immediate danger, that's available 24hrs: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the NSW Government or the NSW Domestic Violence hotline. I'm just a woman who's gone through it and wants to help stop the abuse by raising awareness, and to help those who have been abused get their lives together again.

In the mood to read more?

My Blogs
I let go of worryI am thankful every dayI release attachment to outcomesI see lessons everywhereI take time to understand my thoughts and feelingsI value down time for myself