I am Darina. For a long time I had a relationship with a male abuser. I went through mental abuse, physical threats, manipulation, insults, self-doubt, excuses, scandals, stepping on toes, fear, anxiety. And I left, I survived, I escaped. I got help and support at the right time and managed to leave this nightmare behind.
I was bullied, abused and humiliated. I was accused of being good for nothing, scolded in public, blamed for everything failing because of me. She called me inadequate, insufficient, ugly, smothered. She threatened me, forbade me to see my friends. I was hiding to write with my mother and my brother because he didn't approve.
Unfortunately, to many women, and not only women, this story also sounds familiar and startlingly close. After another scandal at home you must be wondering "what is happening to us", or"what did I do wrong"? You're looking for excuses for your partner - "he's cranky", "he's having a hard time and is stressed at work right now, he's generally not like this". Or you might be thinking "it's my fault, I'm not doing anything right, I deserve to be yelled at" or "he may yell at me and insult me, but at least he didn't hit me" or even "one slap is nothing, you know he repented and promised he wouldn't do it again".
I am here to tell you that this is not love. Domestic violence is not normal, should not happen, and should not be tolerated - these are situations of toxic relationships with abusers. By telling our stories, we can show what the first signs of abusive relationships are and how we can protect ourselves. My personal goal and dream are to work for the early prevention of domestic violence and to help others out of these relationships.
When I imagine Europe I think of a future where domestic violence is a problem of the past. A future where 'women's rights' are synonymous with human rights. A future in which I do not have to hear every other friend and acquaintance tell me how it happened to her. A future in which violence is not tolerated and abusers are not left to live their lives in freedom. A future where the abuser is prosecuted by the law and the victim can move on with their life without the stigma of fear and shame.