Women show domestic abuse isn’t always physical violence as #MaybeHeDoesn’tHitYou goes viral

The hashtag has help to raise awareness about coercive control

Domestic abuse doesn’t always mean being physically attacked by your partner. Abuse can come in many forms, including psychological control and isolation from friends and family. This is called coercive control, and can sometimes be hard for the victim to spot due to the level of slow-burning manipulation the person they love and trust is putting them through.

To help raise awareness of this, women around the world have made the hashtag #MaybeHeDoesn’tHitYou go viral on Twitter, in which they share the many complex ways domestic abuse can manifest itself.

Here are some of the powerful messages being shared:

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he uses your weakness of being able to forgive easily so he can walk all over you and he knows you’ll never get mad

#maybehedoesnthityou but he says he will kill himself if you talk about leaving or breaking up with him.

#maybehedoesnthityou but he makes you stay in if you’re not hanging with him, and he questions every move you make.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes you feel less of a person and tells you you’re crazy and your feelings aren’t valid

#maybehedoesnthityou but sometimes you wish he did so you would know definitely it was abuse and you should leave

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but CAREFULLY thinking about EVERYTHING you say before you say it for fear of a negative reaction is all you do.

#maybehedoesnthityou but he isolates you, verbally bombards you until you give in, & won’t allow you an identity outside the relationship.

#maybehedoesnthityou but he will find something wrong with every friend that you have so that you think he’s the only thing good for you.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he manipulates you into thinking that you’re ugly, worthless, stupid and undeserving of all the good things in life

So what is coercive control? The Serious Crime Act has been updated to cover victims of psychological abuse, and government documents state:

‘The Serious Crime Act explicitly criminalises patterns of coercive or controlling behaviour where they are perpetrated against an intimate partner or family member. Like stalking this behaviour, when viewed in isolation, may appear unexceptional, but the cumulative impact on the victim’s every-day life will be significant, causing the victim to feel fear, alarm or distress.’

For help and support if you are a victim of any form of domestic violence, contact Women’s Aid, Refuge or the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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