For fans across the country, the start of the new football season is a moment of heady excitement; the return of rolling out of bed and straight into the pub, of half-time pies, of songs in the streets, of slurred debates about whether it was a penalty, of stumbling back home with a kebab in hand. It’s a ritual for thousands, an essential part of British culture.
But for domestic abuse victims living with violent partners, the prospect of eight months of match after match can conjure up feelings of terror, dread and apprehension.
While football does not engender domestic abuse, it can nevertheless inflame pre-existing patterns of violence and give perpetrators an excuse to ramp up their mistreatment. For Emma, the weekend games became an excuse for her partner to abuse her.
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