Something very important has been happening on Twitter.
Trending topics can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and from all different places. But every so often one comes along that can pave the way for a very important issue to enter the limelight. And that’s precisely what’s happened this time.
The phrase #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou kicked off a very powerful discussion surrounding the nature of domestic violence relationships, particularly where physical violence may be absent.
Of course, physical assaults between partners of any gender are very serious, but the lack of violence in a relationship doesn’t always equal a lack of abuse. And the mental effect on those living through it can be just as damaging.
We have writer Zahira Kelly to thank for this specific hashtag, and a whole host of other women who soon came forward to share their experiences with the Twittersphere, meaning that it didn’t take long to go viral.
She started off by writing, ‘#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but threw a huuuge raging weeks long miserable fit coz u cut your hair ‘without his permission” [sic].
Others felt inspired by the message behind these words, coming forward to express the isolation and anxiety you can feel when being manipulated by a partner.
One wrote, ‘#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes sure you believe that you’re too broken/damaged to ever be wanted by anyone else’.
Another tweeted, ‘#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes you feel like all your emotions are stupid and makes you apologize for them’.
Other messages included: ‘#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes you hide parts of yourself to make him feel comfortable’ and ‘#maybehedoesnthityou but he tries to control who you talk to, where you go, what friends you can have, and acts like it’s out of love.’
‘#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but you avoid saying or doing things because you don’t want to have to deal with how he might react.’
Domestic abuse is very real, no matter what form it might take. In December, it became a criminal offence in England to display controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship, which is a powerful step in the right direction to make sure these signs don’t get overlooked.
If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, you can seek advice through Refuge.