A domestic violence counsellor claims a simple “No Test” could help women deal better with domestic violence and even help some sidestep potentially violent relationships.
“The “No Test” is basically to watch out for the way your partner responds the first time you change your mind or say no,” Rob Andrew said on ABC Radio Perth’s Focus program earlier this week.
“While expressing disappointment is okay, it’s not the same as annoyed,” he said.
“Annoyed is ‘how dare you’, a sign of ownership or entitlement.”
Mr Andrew said it had proven a powerful tool in his work.
“A lot of the women who will present to services will see themselves as part of the problem,” he said.
“They’ll ask themselves why they’re always attracted to abusive men, blame themselves for not being assertive enough, blame themselves for pushing their partner’s buttons, causing their anger.
“With the ‘No Test’, we’re not trying to give women knowledge that they didn’t already know, but when they see it in black and white in front of them like that, they realise they of course have the right to say no, that they aren’t to blame.”
Mr Andrew said the “No Test” sprung from a conversation he had with a colleague a number of years ago.
He said she asked him why it always took her so long to see a man’s true colours.
“I asked her to explain and she told me how the man she was in a new relationship with had blown up at her after she’d had to cancel a date as she was feeling unwell.
“We unpacked this together and realised it was the first time she’d said no.”
Mr Andrew said mostly domestic violence began gradually.
“It’s very insidious,” he said
On the program, Mr Andrew received some complaints from listeners asking why he was not including men as victims of domestic abuse.
“Look, that’s very possible and we would never deny the possibility of men being in controlling situations of course,” he responded to one text.
“We’re not trying to paint women as angels and men [as] the devil.”
- In Australia on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner; 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 and intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to illness, disability and premature death for women aged 18-44.
Family and domestic violence support services:
- 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
- Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
- Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
- Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
- Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
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