As the countdown to Valentine’s Day traditional celebration of love and romance begins, family violence response service Shine is throwing the spotlight on what love is – and what it isn’t.
“It’s not love when you are unable to disagree with anything your partner says. And it’s not love when they control you – who you see, what you wear, what you spend – or when they verbally abuse you or physically hurt you,” says Shine spokesperson Rachel Kain.
“Family violence is not only physical violence. Controlling someone, threatening them, limiting what they do, insulting them, isolating them, and humiliating them are all forms of family violence.”
Rachel gives the example of a client who received a large bunch of flowers at work one Valentine’s Day. Instead of being happy, she appeared miserable, which was noticed by a work colleague.
It turned out that the woman had a partner who controlled everything she did: where she went, what she wore, who she saw, what money she spent. He regularly checked her phone. It was hard for the woman because from the outside, many people thought her partner was a great guy.
Rachel says this Valentine’s Day, Shine is sending the message that everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that violence and control are not love.
“We can all help by watching out for signs, and offering support to get help without judgement.”
Shine welcomes calls from anyone who is worried about their own situation or who is worried about a friend, family member, child or anyone they know who might be experiencing domestic violence.
The charity answers thousands of calls every year from people needing support, information, advice and referrals to local services, and from people wanting advice about how to help someone they know who is experiencing domestic violence.
If you or someone you know needs help, the Shine Helpline on 0508 744 633 and webchat service are available 24/7 for people experiencing violence and their supporters.