Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Coercive Abuse

Before I write this I need to make it clear that these are my own meandering thoughts. 
I'm not going to discuss the consequences of the new coercive abuse law; whether I feel it will be affective, if it will have a positive or negative effect, whether it will be abused, or how they will gather evidence to prosecute. 
I want to talk about how I feel that this law being in place will raise awareness about how we are treated, or treat others every day. 
Coercive abuse to me is a massive issue. It shows no traces of being there, and others will be blind to your pain and suffering. In that sense, it's one of the most dangerous types of abuse and people who are experiencing it may not even be aware that's what it is, or will make excuses for it.
Examples of coercive abuse have been described by the CPS as "threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what they wear."
When an article regarding the new law was published in a national newspaper online I was completely gobsmacked at the comments. One reader commented that the law was pathetic and asked, is he not allowed to call his wife "fat" now for fear of being arrested. 
Well I'm sure you won't be arrested pet but you've just illustrated to the world what a dickhead you are. And believe it or not, calling your wife insulting names is actually emotionally abusive and just a general twatty thing to do.
Another commented that if his wife came downstairs wearing something that he didn't like he'd say "you're not going out the house wearing that" and that as her husband he was perfectly within his rights to say that.
What the actual fuck. Well no, no you're not. You're an arsehole and thank god I'm not your wife. 
These are all small behaviours that go by unrecognised but contribute to another person being made to feel controlled and/or humiliated. How is this acceptable? Why is it that only NOW as this new law has been introduced that people are questioning the way they act towards others, whether they feel it's acceptable or not? People they are supposed to care for, respect and love? Isn't it just common sense that you should just not be a dickhead? 
A lady questioned as to whether the law would now prevent her from snooping on her partners social media accounts. 
Well your partner has probably now changed their password so that's one problem solved, and really, why are you doing that anyway? Yes, people have insecurities and lack trust for one reason or another, but regardless as to the reasons you may give yourself in your head as to why you are prowling about on your partners Facebook, in reality you are invading their privacy and infringing on their human rights.
Technology has heightened this immeasurably. 
Facebook itself is probably a major cause of relationship breakdowns and insecurities, leading to one partner controlling another's social life and who they can and can't talk to. 
There's now even an app where you can track someone through their phone. 
I know this because my partner has it.
Fortunately for me (and for him) he's not a complete psychopath and uses this to check I get to and from work safely when it's dark. 
But can you imagine if he used it to actually track me as a form of control? And what the consequences would be if I was in a different place to where I had said I would be?
Sadly some of you reading this will know the consequences. You will have lived it and experienced it. Hopefully you are no longer, but some of you will be. And that makes me so sad. 
I don't know if the new law will have an effect on those who commit coercive abuse. But I do hope that those who are indirectly controlling or being controlled will take a step back and think "whoahhh! They/I act like that. And it's not acceptable. 
It's so easy to slip in to undesirable behaviours. Life gets you like that. Things happen, they mark you, you react. But maybe this will be a wake up call. Maybe as well as protecting those who suffer in abusive relationships, it will also remind people about the value of respect for another persons human rights and how it's not ok to act or be treated like an asshole. 

*Thankyou to everyone who debated this with me and turned my jumbled thoughts in to words 

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, emotional abuse, as you say, is often unseen or is done in such a manner that it's hard to discern what's happening. My father in law has emotionally abused his wife and children. As an outsider I see it, but it's taken them a long time to deal with it. If he lived in the UK this law would apply. Great post!