Women’s refuge uses Twitter feature to highlight hidden abuse

A women’s domestic abuse charity is using a new Twitter feature to highlight how abuse can be hidden from plain sight.

Solace Women’s Aid has used the social media platform’s Hidden Replies feature to create an interactive post showing how abusive behaviour can be hidden from plain sight.

The new campaign comprises a tweet showing an image of a smiling couple with the contrasting message “this is what domestic abuse looks like”.

Those who see the post are can then asked to click on the hidden replies to see a controlling conversation linked to the photo.

The charity says it wants to raise awareness of hidden forms of domestic abuse, such as controlling and coercive behaviour because these can often be ignored as they are not visible forms of violence and abuse.

Twitter’s Hidden Replies tool was introduced late last year by the social platform as a means of allowing users to control which replies to their original post remain visible beneath a post as a way of cutting abuse on the service.

At the time, Twitter said the feature could be used to filter content users did not want to see and to help prevent conversations they were having online from being “derailed” or manipulated.

Solace’s campaign comes alongside research from the charity which says it takes six and a half years for a woman to leave an abusive relationship.

Jane Jutsum, business development director at Solace, said: “Just because domestic abuse doesn’t always result in physical injuries that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

“Hidden abuse can take many forms, from controlling somebody’s actions, to alienating someone from their family and friends, to creating an environment of fear and suffering.

“But some people don’t realise hidden abuse is actually a type of domestic abuse.

“We believe every woman has the right to a life free from abuse and violence.”

Ms Jutsum said the charity hoped the unique use of the Twitter feature would help social media users to support the campaign.

“The purpose of the #HiddenAbuse campaign is to remind people that just because you can’t see domestic abuse doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” she said.

“The Hidden Replies feature on Twitter has allowed us to tell an engaging story, one that is based on real-life experiences we hear about everyday and to raise awareness around hidden domestic abuse.

“We hope people get behind the campaign, retweet it far and wide and help to continue to open up the conversation around hidden abuse.”