By Isobel Ellul
Sadly, it comes as no surprise that domestic abuse in Gibraltar saw a 26% increase in 2020. The Royal Gibraltar Police received 614 reports of domestic abuse in that year. Lockdowns, due to COVID-19, mean people spending their days at home and if in an abusive relationship, more exposed and prone to it.
Let’s Talk Real (Instagram: @letstalkrealgib) spoke to Rosalina Oliva, aka Rosie to us, (Instagram: @inmyskin101), founder of Never Alone: Domestic Abuse Support Gibraltar which raises awareness to offer and increase the support of domestic abuse in Gibraltar. That there is a way out; there is life after an abusive relationship. Rosie describes five types of domestic abuse:
1 Physical abuse: Any form of physical contact that is intended to cause physical injury, even a minor one. This can be slapping, punching, kicking, pushing, biting, burning, hair pulling, pinching, shaking, restraining and assault with a weapon.
2 Sexual abuse: Any form of unwanted sexual contact including rape (within marriage too), sexual assault, unwanted fondling, sexual harassment, physical violence to sexual organs, forced use or disuse of contraception, sexual humiliation and accusation of infidelity.
3 Psychological abuse: Any ongoing actions meant to instil fear, control or intimidation. This may include controlling the victim in ways like when they can leave the house, who they can see, requiring permission to talk to others. Blackmail, threatening to harm themselves or others. The destruction of the victim’s property, stalking and frequently checking up on the victim.
4 Emotional abuse (this is also called ‘Gaslighting’): Efforts to destroy a victim’s self worth. Constant insults, frequent humiliation, repeated uncalled for humiliation or criticism, including guilt, belittling and name calling. Damaging the victim’s relationship with others.
5 Financial or economic abuse: Preventing the victim from getting an education or working outside the home, or forcing the victim to work; controlling bank accounts and withholding money.
Domestic abuse in Gibraltar saw a 26% increase in 2020.
The amazing Rosie, because of her own personal experiences of being abused, explains how her support group, which can be found on Facebook, is a safe way for people to contact her and be signposted to support and help. Unfortunately, she is in a position to know and understand what you may be going through and encourages the silent victims to come forward and seek help. Never Alone: Domestic Abuse Support Gibraltar also provides a platform to raise awareness and hold to account those setting up strategies of support for this vulnerable group and whether it is enough.
Rosie explains that there are no other statistics on abuse apart from those reported to the police, so the 26% increase in 2020 could be the tip of the iceberg, especially when there is still such a major taboo around this subject and victims live in constant fear of repercussions in such a small, well-connected community. Often people do not want to know and the cliché ‘bury your head in the sand’ comes to mind. Rosie goes further saying this is not just a relationship issue; it should be a societal issue, especially when as a community we tend to be so invested in others’ business.
There is a way out; there is life after an abusive relationship.
Additionally, the Royal Gibraltar Police has recently announced increased support from their Public Protection Unit, which liaises closely with Social Services and the GHA, and have specially trained staff who can help.
If you or someone you know needs help, reach out. You are not alone.
- Emergency: 911
- Royal Gibraltar Police: (+350) 200 72500
- GibSams: 116 123