Abusive relationships aren’t just on-screen

AS more attention is being paid to those suffering in abusive relationships, the government and organisations around the world are taking action to help people save themselves. You might think you know what an ‘abusive relationship’ is, but would you be able to tell the signs if it came to it?

The truth is, it’s extremely hard to spot in some circumstances, and does often goes hidden or undetected for a long time. Did you know that it may involve not only physical and emotional abuse, but also financial and sexual abuse, intimidation, isolation and even minimisation of the abuse all count as occurrences which may take place in a abusive relationship (info from the BBC website).

Still from a 2010 campaign advert against abusive relationships

Still from a 2010 campaign advert against abusive relationships

Soap operas, although they do often fail, are a reflection of society, incorporating social and cultural situations and issues into their shows. Alcoholism, gay people, addicts, murder, death, marriage- it’s all there (especially at Christmas!) You may be a keen fan of Hollyoaks (bare with me as I am not), and if you are, you will have recognised character couple Maxine and Patrick on the new Home Office advert for abuse in relationships.

Patrick and Maxine from Hollyoaks in the This Is Abuse campaign advert

Patrick and Maxine from Hollyoaks in the This Is Abuse campaign advert

The ‘This Is Abuse’ advert demonstrates (here) how an abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily mean the often assumed physical elements. The ‘Oaks stars take part in the advert in a follow-up to their on-screen dysfunctional relationship storyline.
Channel 4 teamed up with This Is Abuse to incorporate the couple as the storyline continues into the new year.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker told Channel 4:

Too many young people have experienced some form of emotional violence from a partner. We need to stop this – not only can emotional abuse wreck lives but it can be a precursor to physical violence.
Today’s new advertising campaigns will help teenagers identify abuse and give them the tools to challenge it when they see it.

Keira in the Cut video

Keira in the Cut video

Having said all this, physical abuse is still a massive issue, and star Keira Knightley demonstrates in this powerful Woman’s Aid public service announcement this horror women worldwide still face. The short film, created by Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright, is hoped to raise money for Women’s Aid.
Both Keira and her on-screen partner took part free of charge in this charity video and she told the Daily Mail:

‘I wanted to take part in this advert for Women’s Aid because while domestic violence exists in every section of society we rarely hear about it. Domestic violence affects one in four women at some point in their lifetime and kills two women every week.’

If you know somebody, or are in fact yourself suffering from a form of domestic abuse, you needn’t go through it alone. Actually, it doesn’t need to continue at all. Find help at http://thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk or http://www.womensaid.org.uk.

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