Escape intimate partner violence

partner violence

Intimate partner violence is driving women to suicide and self-harm say Women’s Refuge.

Shocking stories from 1,250 women, told during a month-long online survey, were released on Monday:

  • Almost half of the respondents considered taking their own life at least once
  • Most had self-harmed
  • The majority of the women linked their self-harming to their experiences of intimate partner violence

“The worst was the psychological abuse,” reports one woman.

“He loved to strangle me, spit in my face, call me names, and pour alcohol over me.

“He got a thrill from degrading me.

“The physical abuse was easier to deal with – bruises heal.”

Women’s Refuge chief executive, Dr Ang Jury, calls the survey result “astonishing.”

She said reading the survey made her feel quite sick.

“We know that experience of intimate partner violence has serious mental health effects.

“We know it creates a sense of worthlessness and that it is logically attached to self-harm and feeling suicidal.

“But knowing those things in an intuitive sense and actually having the sorts of stories and accounts that women provided in this survey made it very real in a way I hadn’t expected.

“These women were making very clear links between what they were experiencing and what it led them to do – self-harm and suicide attempts – and it was really raw.”

Jury says that, while most women had received professional help, they still felt there were hefty barriers to disclosing the violence or suicidal feelings.

One woman wrote: “I told the first doctor I saw that I had thoughts of suicide. They told me to come back if I’d attempted it.”

A number of survey respondents feared risking the loss of their children.

Jury said the survey established the clear need to spend more time and effort into getting more long-term support for women who leave abusive relationships.

The survey also looked into the respondents’ history of abuse and discovered more than 90 per cent had experienced multiple forms of abuse in childhood.

Need help?

Crisisline: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

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News category: New Zealand.

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