Is it abuse if they only hit you once?

In a lot of situations, people feel like someone hitting them only once and being apologetic about it later shouldn’t really be considered abuse. I can understand why you would like to see the best in your partner and hope that they don’t hurt you again, however, abuse should never be tolerated and if it can happen once, it can happen again. Here’s more.

What’s considered abuse?

Abuse is when a person’s behaviour is used to gain control over you. They can do this physically by assaulting you, emotionally and verbally through mean words, intimidation and manipulation, or sexually by forcing themselves on you, disrespecting boundaries and coercion. Abuse is about exerting control and power over the other person. Whether this happens once, a few times or frequently, it’s important for you to take it seriously and know that you deserve better than to be treated that way.

Abusers usually test how their victims are with boundaries, Choma – they start with ‘little’ things like saying something disrespectful or being controlling and then escalate to violence. YThis is why it’s important to be able to pick up this behaviour early on, so you can walk away.

What do you do if your partner hits you?

Address it: If your partner hits you and then apologises, don’t let it slide. Let them know that the behaviour is unacceptable and how it made you feel. They may come up with justification for their actions like, “I was really angry” or “you provoked me”. It doesn’t matter what you did in the situation, it’s never okay for someone to react with violence.

Talk to someone: You may feel embarrassed or afraid after the incident, but it’s important to speak to someone you trust about it. You can reach out to me, a friend or a family member

Leave the relationship: The next step is to leave the relationship. I know that this is not easy to do, but for your safety, you will need to exit the abusive relationship. Like I mentioned earlier, a partner who hits you once is likely to do it again if they can get away with it.

Where to get help

If you don’t feel safe with your partner, then you need to get help immediately. You can call the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867# for a call back.

If you need a safe place away from your abuser, you can contact the National Shelter Movement South Africa via their website and contact a shelter in your province.

It’s never easy to deal with abuse in any relationship and I know that you may desperately want to believe a partner who promises to never hurt you again, but for the sake of your safety, it’s important to leave when they do it the first time. Abuse is abuse, whether it happens once or repeatedly.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).