Warning: This post deals with domestic violence and could be triggering for some readers.
A simple test created by a domestic violence counsellor can help women identify an abusive partner.
Rob Andrew, a counsellor with 20 years experience, told the ABC he discovered the tool while talking to a colleague about her relationship.
She told him how her new partner had blown up at her after she had to cancel a date because she was unwell.
“We unpacked this together and realised it was the first time she’d said no,” Andrew said.
This led to Andrew’s creation of the ‘No Test’ – a tool where women watch out for the way their partner responds the first time they change their mind or say no.
“While expressing disappointment is okay, it’s not the same as annoyed. Annoyed is ‘how dare you’, a sign of ownership or entitlement,” Andrew explained.
Many women in these situations will see themselves as part of the problem, he said. They feel responsible because they’re not assertive enough, for being attracted to the ‘wrong men’, for pushing his buttons.
The ‘No Test’ allowed them to see the problem without placing the blame on themselves.
It was, by all means, a simple tool that has proven itself very powerful.
Andrew said he believed helping women to reposition how they see themselves is a more helpful approach than “assertive training”.
“When they start realising the ways in which they’ve resisted, how they’ve held onto hope and dignity, suddenly their eyes light up,” he said.
“We can’t stop the man from abusing them, but if we help the woman to have a different identity description of herself, to start recognising these things, then it’s amazingly helpful to them.”
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.