I've always considered myself a fairly intuitive person, but the reality is, when it comes to the people in our lives, we never really know what happens behind closed doors.
Daily, we’re exposed to domestic and family violence stories in the media, but it's often only the cases that lead to significant injury or death that are reported on. In those tragedies, we don't see the actual number of women, men and children who are exposed to violence within their own homes, or the complex reality of what they experience.
We don't see the 'invisible' abuse. The financial control. The emotional manipulation. The sexual assault.
Watch: Women and Violence - The Hidden Numbers. Post continues below.
Recently I became aware of two good friends of mine who have been experiencing domestic abuse. Each at the hands of their partner — the father of their children.
One involves a verbally and physically abusive, alcoholic partner. The other involves emotional, verbal and financial abuse. In both cases, the partners were incredibly controlling, and it manifested in a number of destructive and dangerous ways.
These women have two very different stories, but the outcomes, right now, are similar. Two families who have now been separated. Two women left devastated by the effects of long-term abuse within their homes, who have lost their self-esteem and sense of worth. Children who have experienced forms of violence and coercive control within their homes.
With social media being one of the few ways so many of us have been able to 'catch up' this year, it’s so easy for friends, loved ones and acquaintances not to see any signs or 'red flags' or witness any abusive behaviour themselves.
It’s also easy for those experiencing domestic violence to post pictures of a perfectly ‘normal’ happy family without anyone being able to suspect a thing.