Well, actually the TV “Social Experiment” show says its “Married at first sight”. It’s a copycat of a show originating from Denmark where “scientifically matched” couples agree to a marriage with a person they see first at the mock wedding (which is not legally binding). However, they are required to spend the first night together in a hotel and then go on a “honeymoon”, live together for a period, and then decided if they wish to go on with the relationship.

Selections of the budding relationships are filmed for the edification and entertainment of the viewers!

I don’t actually watch the show, but have read about it, and my interest increased when there were mentions of verbal and emotional bullying among some of the contestants – hence my title “Married at first bite”!

I was interested when some of these “perfectly matched” couples apparently came apart at the seams fairly early in the relationship. For some, the interest faded at the first sight of their prospective partner at the “wedding”. Fair enough, the bizarre constructed situation was scary and not for the faint-hearted.

The descriptions of the “abuse” reminded me of my time when I worked in Domestic Violence. Part of my work involved running groups and counselling women who found themselves in abusive situations. I’ve mentioned verbal and emotional bullying above, but there are a number of ways that people can bully or abuse each other, and some are not so well known.

We usually hear of bullying and abuse in domestic violence with a male being the abuser. However it can be the other way around, with statistics revealing that about 24% of those being bullied were male. But women between the ages of 20-44 cop most of it, with about 75% all women experiencing abuse.

Both genders can be involved, and bullying and abuse exists in same sex relationships and in different racial groups. Kids can abuse other kids, and the elderly can be abused by a carer or by relatives.

Bullying and abuse is rife in the workplace, schools, in various institutions (think of churches, the Defence Force, hospitals and Parliament!) as well as in the home, where children and pets may also be involved. Abuse happens where people are homeless and have no money, and it happens to those living in mansions where money is plentiful. Bullying can be carried out in person, or these days by telephone, mobile, or online in some form.

Bullying and abuse is a big problem, and contributes to our crime rate, mostly in the form of domestic violence where violent assault has to be investigated by the police. It can also involve various drugs, alcohol, mental illness, different religious beliefs and values.

I’d like to give just an outline of abuse in its major forms. Please keep in mind that there could be at least 10 books written on each form of abuse without exhausting the available information!

Read on – if you think you have ever been abused. Read on – if you think you could be an abusive person – it’s time for change. Read on if you have never experienced abuse because it is good to understand the experience of others. Next article released this time next week.

© Kathleen Crawford 2017