Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

If only that old playground phrase were true! The reality is, for victims of relationship abuse, emotional and psychological abuse can often be the most detrimental abuse they suffer.

“The bruises and scratches healed over a few days, but it was those constant putdowns – ‘How stupid are you?’ ‘You fat fuck’, ‘You ugly piece of shit’, ‘Who else would love a hairy faggot like you?’ – which completely eroded me. Soon enough I believed what he was saying, and it left me emotionally crippled for years after we had broken up.” (Ryan)

For the LGBTIQ community, there are unique forms of emotional and psychological abuse that perpetrators of domestic violence can use against them.

“She used to hide my hormones. It would happen about once a month, we would get into an argument and then the next day my hormones would be missing. She made me feel like it was my fault and made me beg to get the hormones back.” (Quin)

“Whenever something didn’t go his way, he would threaten to tell my boss and my workmates that I was HIV positive. I was absolutely horrified of this occurring, so I always had to watch what I said and how I acted around him. If I upset him slightly, I knew it could be disastrous.” (Ahmad)

“I wanted to leave but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to leave my dog with her. I knew if I left she would do something to him – beat him or poison him, I don’t know. My dog was my baby, and she would happily hurt him to hurt me.” (Nicole)

Any form of abuse should not be accepted in any relationship. If you feel like your relationship is abusive, help is out there.

info: Visit or contact the Safe Relationships Project at or 02 9332 1966 or 1800 244 481.

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