Women covering up their bruises in concealer or behind their clothes, to hide their pain from the world and continue the facade of having a perfect marriage. There is disturbing data that there are more women in abusive marriages than reported. The reason is that many women in abusive relationships don’t even realise they are in one for the longest time because of all the confusion surrounding the topic.

The first danger signs of an abusive relationship are excessive jealousy, excessive criticism or forced sexual relationship. If your partner obsessively checks your mobile phone, constantly wants to know about your whereabouts, never apologises after an ugly argument, and ends up making everything your fault, these are clear signs of your partner displaying coercive control. Such partners may even force you into having sex, even when you say no, and also make you perform sexual activities that you are clearly uncomfortable with. Women need to know that even if their partner is not physically abusive, emotional abuse is also a form of abuse.

Such abusive partners always make their spouse walk on the edge, even when things seem fine because they want to build the fear that they can’t go wrong and if they do, there will be dire consequences.

The reason most victims don’t open up is because while their partner makes them feel vulnerable and unsafe, they cannot clearly put their finger on anything particular that could tag their relationship as abusive. Because many a time the abuser also makes up for those abusive times by confessing their love, showering them with gifts. This makes them doubt themselves. Some in an abusive relationship would say, ‘I am a tough person to be with,’ or ‘I also hit back when he does’ or ‘I test his patience often, it is my fault.’

Sadly, the discussions that surround abuse are extremely toxic. But women should know that they should seek help if their relationship makes them feel scared and wronged. It is not your fault!