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Is someone abusing you? When we hear the term ‘domestic
their religion and opinion are also acts
violence’, the first thing that usually
comes to mind is physical violence. If fists are not swinging, it may be easier
Domestic violence and violence in a
to think that violence does not concern
close relationship refer to situations in
me or my loved ones.
which someone is abusing a current or former partner, their child or someone
Hitting, kicking and strangling are
else close to them. It is easier for you
acts of violence, and so are pushing,
to recognise violence in your own
pulling hair, slapping and tearing at
relationships and those around you
someone’s clothes. Violent acts do not
when you know what is considered to
always leave physical marks. Abuse of
be violent behaviour.
power and suppression, intimidation and controlling are acts of psychological
Get help. Recovering from a violent
violence. Controlling someone else’s
relationship is easier when you are not
free time or finances, violation of
alone. Help others to get help. You can
sexual self-determination and limiting
take the first step to stop violence by
another person’s freedom to express
“The worst thing was the mental grip he had on me. The injuries and marks caused by his punches healed, but the emotional damage didn’t go away. I couldn’t understand how I could be so completely lost. --- How I could let someone lead me, when I know what I’m doing is wrong but I still do it. It was the worst thing.” (Tarinakengät, stories about violence*)
KARIN SMEDS / G O R I L L A
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Did you know? These are also acts
– verbal suppression and humiliation, either in private or in the presence of other people – coercion and intimidation – even when done by shouting, throwing objects or threatening to hurt people close to you or your pet – controlling other people’s movements, how they spend their time or money and preventing them from meeting their friends and relatives – coercion and forcing someone to participate in
sexual acts against their will – constantly and deliberately ignoring someone’s needs.
Violence often begins gradually and by stealth Violence rarely comes into a relationship all of a sudden and openly. On the contrary – there may be many good aspects in the relationship. Jealousy over the time you spend alone and in other people’s company may feel like a gesture of love. Pushing someone around and having a temper may attract attention, but these mean nothing compared to the good things – nobody’s perfect! Still, a good relationship never causes fear or a sense of threat. “At first, he restricted my going out; I wasn’t allowed to keep in touch with my friends or go out and about anywhere.
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Then it was name-calling and suppression. I had to dress in a certain way, have my hair cut in a certain way and cook certain kinds of foods. In fact, he wanted to make all the decisions. We had been seeing each other for about a year when he attacked me
“It started with the silent treatment.
for the first time.”(Tarinakengät)
At first, I didn’t even realise that he was sulking. I got the silent treatment once a
“My friends said that he was treating
month and then he’d behave as if I didn’t
me really badly and that I should leave
him. But they don’t understand that he’s wonderful, really, even if he calls me a whore and pushes me around when he’s angry.”(Jenna, 15)
Violent behaviour often becomes frequent and more brutal Mental and physical violence undermines the victim’s self-confidence, their confidence in their own values and emotions. Abuse begins to feel like a normal part of life. It is deceptively easy to cross the line to more brutally violent behaviour. Violence rarely stops by itself, which is why someone has to intervene.
“I was always walking on eggshells. If something didn’t go his way, I was worried about him throwing something at my head, how long the silent treatment would last for, or if he was going to squeeze my throat too forcefully this time.” (Tarinakengät)
“Then I got pregnant. We were going to be a real family. After the first assault, which was completely unexpected, something changed permanently. I hoped things would be OK, but something in my subconscious said that this was the beginning of something much
in s s bu t th e fe ar re ma Th e ba tt er in g st op
Intentional and repeated failure to act is abuse Failure to act, just as acting, may be violent behaviour if it endangers the well-being or safety of a loved one. Violence is often negligence of care or help, or degrading treatment. It is children, the elderly and the disabled – those who are dependent on others – who are especially vulnerable.
“Sometimes I’m afraid when I’m alone
“My wife needs help with almost
at home in the evening, when my mum
everything. She can no longer look
and dad are out, and I don’t know
after herself. Her memory is also going.
where they are. Then I’d like to go to
Sometimes I get annoyed and go out for
my neighbour’s.” (Emmi, 5)
the day even though I know she won’t remember to take her medicine.”
e to yo u Do es so me on e cl os go wi th ou t ca re ? St ep in .
A child’s safety is the responsibility of an adult A child must never be ill-treated or
the child themselves. Children must
raised using physical abuse. Failure
stay alert because of the abuse, which
to care for a child and intimidation or
is extremely stressful. They may also
oppression of a child is violence. Abuse
feel ashamed of the violent behaviour
between adults is also harmful to a child
in their family or think that they are to
even if it is not directed at the child.
A child who does not feel safe may find
Living in a violent environment harms
it difficult to sleep and eat. Learning
children and affects the ability of adults
may become more difficult and the
to be reliable parents. Children need to
child’s development may slow down.
be heard because they cannot change
Unhappiness may manifest itself as
their circumstances. It is up to adults
reticence or violent behaviour towards
to make the changes. Children have
oneself or others. Children do not
the right to live in a safe, loving and
always show the effects of violence,
supportive environment. No matter
yet it frightens them. Happiness and
what your position is, it is your duty is
playfulness can turn into worry about
to safeguard the welfare of a child.
their loved ones, their pet and the about
Do not abandon the child.
“I make a hole and I lie there, and I imagine that I’m a mouse eating the walls to escape from the prison.” (Jimi, 6)
HENRIK SÃ&#x2013;RENSEN / G O R I L L A
et Vi ol en ce is a se cr
il d. il d fr om be in g a ch th at pr ev en ts a ch
Where to find help? If you have been ill-treated or
You can come to a shelter alone or with
threatened, do not wait and hope for
your children any time. Staying at a
things to get better tomorrow. Violence
shelter is free. It is intended to be a
in any form is never acceptable. It is
short-term refuge when staying at home
possible to lead a safe and violence-free
is frightening or dangerous because of
violence or the threat of violence.
The shelters and community care
The community care services help
services run by the Federation of
victims and perpetrators of violence for
Mother and Child Homes and Sheltersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
as long as necessary. Customers can
member associations help more than
make an appointment for a meeting
6,000 people across Finland every year.
with the services, participate in guided
Call a shelter if you want to talk about
peer groups or live in supported
your experiences with someone or if
accommodation. Support is available
you are not sure whether staying at
for both adults and children. You can
home is safe.
find information, peer support and professional help online at:
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d vi ol en ce . ta lk ab ou t fe ar an u. l so me on e he ar s yo Ke ep ta lk in g un ti is av ai la bl e. Pr of es sio na l he lp
People behaving violently can also get help Violent behaviour is always the responsibility of the perpetrator. If you behave violently or you are concerned about not being able to control your behaviour, get help. You only need to contact the community care services at the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters. The primary objective of the support is to anticipate dangerous situations and to stop the abuse. If you have children, you will also be helped to see the situation from their perspective. By accepting help you are assuming responsibility for ending the abuse. GETTY IMAGES
Information about shelters and community care services: www.nettiturvakoti.fi
Nollalinja offers support, tel. 080 005 005.
The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters Asemamiehenkatu 4 A | 00520 Helsinki | tel. 09 4542 440 (+358 9 4542 440) www.etkl.fi * Read more about the Tarinakengät stories: www.nettiturvakoti.fi
GRAPHIC DESIGN: ROHKEA RUUSU | COVER IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES
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