He hits me and says it is because he loves me

MY boyfriend and I have been together for eight months. He is 22 and I am 19.

MY boyfriend and I have been together for eight months. He is 22 and I am 19.

At the beginning he treated me wonderfully, but a few weeks ago we had a fight and he hit me. Since then he has hit me a number of times.

I know I am also to blame because I provoke him.

I cannot talk to him about how I feel when he hits me because I am scared he will lose his temper again. He always apologises and says it is because he loves me so much that I drive him mad.

I don't want to lose him because I love him, but I want him to stop hitting me.

What should I do?

Scared, Gauteng

What you are experiencing is awful. No matter what he says, the way he is treating you is not love but abuse.

You are not to blame, no matter what you do. Most victims of domestic violence make excuses for abusers and often blame themselves. He is the one responsible for his actions.

If you stay in this relationship you will always live in fear, waiting for those few moments when he decides to treat you with some decency. This will not stop and will only get worse unless he admits he has a problem and gets help.

Your life is in danger if you stay with him. If you are scared to leave him speak to a family member or close friend.

If he threatens you go to the police and get a restraining order. For further help, call People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa) on 011-642-4345.

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