What you can do about abuse will depend on your own circumstances. This information may give you some ideas about what you might do.
Coping with abuse
We all find own way of coping with the things that are happening in our life. The women with disabilities we spoke to shared with us how they coped while living in an abusive relationship. Living with abuse is not easy. Maybe your way of coping is like the women we spoke to or you may have your own way of managing.
What helped me cope while I was living was my husband was being aware; being three steps ahead of him…If I could keep our son happy and occupied, that helped a lot with my husband’s moods …
Read more from ‘Molly’s story’
Having a friend, you have to have some friends.
I kept on going because of my children. I learnt to speak up and question the treatment I was receiving…
Read more from ‘Rose Lillian’s Story’
Think about what you have done to cope with the abuse so far. Remind yourself you have already been strong to survive the abuse.
Changing the situation
The women we spoke to had all been able to survive the abuse and to eventually make changes to their situation. Some had met a counsellor or a support worker, or had spoken to or a friend or a family member, and this had helped them to understand that what was happening to them was not okay. Others had started studying or had found a job. This gave them some independence and the time to think about want they wanted out of life.
Making changes is not easy, because you may feel frightened or worn down by abuse. Here are some things the women we spoke to were able to do.
I began seeing a psychologist in year 11 and his support had a big impact on me…
Read more from ‘Anj’s story’
What helped me decide to leave and start again is having a friend to talk to, a friend who will support you…
Read more from ‘Molly’s Story’
How services, carers, police and others helped
Some women had good experiences when they talked to carers, support services, domestic violence services, or other professionals. Here’s some of what they said.
I have one carer who is a very good support to me. I feel safe with her. It helps to have someone you can rely on and feel safe with. I trust her to talk to about my problems with my husband…
Read more from ‘Mary’s story’
Getting help and being supported. Being given time to think about what to do next. A good support worker sees the problem through the woman’s eyes. Having someone to take the kids off your hands for a while giving you space to think…
Read more from ‘Molly’s Story’
From refuge I went to a supported women’s accommodation service. This is where I got my first real help. There is this feeling of acceptance. There is a strong sense of being a women’s space. As a foster child I had had male workers – I had no choice. I really appreciated the opportunity to be supported by a women’s service and connect as a woman…
Read more from 'Liz's story'
What other women with disabilities want you to remember:
The women we spoke to had messages for other women experiencing abuse:
- Believe in yourself
- It’s important to be listened to
- You need to put new positive stuff in your head because the abuse is so negative you need to get good stuff in your life.
- If you are in an abusive relationship realise it’s not worth it, no matter what happiness he may bring on a good day.
- Honour yourself because you have been hammered by the domestic violence.
- Recovery from abuse is a journey that’s never over.
- Find someone to talk to. It you are not happy with what you hear, then go get a second or third opinion.
- If you have children, you might think you are doing the right thing by keeping them there – but actually if they are going through hell too then it’s not fair on them either. If you are at peace, the children are going to be more at ease because they will find Mum at ease, and they will think: ‘we don’t have to protect Mum’.
- There has to be hope because sometimes that is all you have to hang on to, there has to be a better tomorrow.