WHAT would you do if your partner slapped you?

If you had done something really stupid to hurt them or offend them, you might well do nothing – except think what an idiot you had been.

That, in a nutshell, encapsulates one of the biggest and most intractable problems surrounding domestic abuse: when does unpleasant behaviour to a partner actually become abuse?

One of the biggest factors in that problem is, tragically, love: when we love someone, and we want to be with them, we are far, far more likely to forgive them for doing things that, actually, we would not forgive in most other people.

Another persistent problem in this knotty issue is the mental health, self-esteem and self-confidence of the people who end up being victims.

The very sad truth is that many victims of domestic abuse end up in that position despite knowing, on some level, that they are not being treated well, precisely because they – for whatever reason – don’t believe they deserve better, or perhaps simply fear that they will never find anyone else to actually love them.

Abusers are keenly aware of every single one of these issues, and seek out people who they see as potential targets.

In recent years, as a society, we have all become much more familiar with this dynamic: the idea of a woman being 'gaslighted' by a cruel man is now a well-known trope.

Unfortunately, the trope of a male spouse as a victim of real, harmful abuse is still practically non-existent in our society.

The challenge begins here: we all know couples were we might joke that 'she wears the trousers' – now we have to start looking much more seriously, and we have to be prepared to speak out even when the words sound strange to us.

Domestic abuse against men is a real problem that we can tackle, if we work together.

Sometimes, even a single slap for 'stupid' comment is just not acceptable.