Noticing the Signs of Domestic Violence

Women across the nation spoke out against sexual assault and violence in the beginning of 2018, sharing their stories via twitter under the trending hashtag #METOO. Of course, this is nothing new. Women are harrassed, sexually violated, and beaten on a daily basis which according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline is an average of twenty four people per minute. Majority of incidents are committed by an intimate partner or someone the victim knew.

 

(Courtesy of The National Domestic Violence Hotline)

 

Domestic violence is often defined with physical abuse, but it also includes threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, and any act that purposefully evokes fear. Signs of an abusive relationship are hard to recognize at first, but overtime manifest a desire to maintain control by engaging in behavior such as:

  • Extreme jealousy of your friends/family and time spent away

  • Constantly puts you down or tells you that you can never do anything right

  • Controls who you see, where you go, and what you do

  • Threatens to harm you, your pets, or your children

  • Pressures you to have sex or use drugs/alcohol

 

(Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health)

 

Domestic violence is never black and white; every relationship is different. Recognizing these aspects of abuse is the first step towards escaping these potentially life threatening situations. Leaving on the other hand, is not as easy as it seems. Fear, low self esteem, love, and the belief that abuse is normal are all typical reasons a person would feel the need to stay in this predicament. Society often questions why people stay in these types of relationships, creating a narrative that constitutes victim blaming.

 

By noticing the signs and understanding why people chose to stay in unhealthy relationships, we can offer support and help victims escape their torment. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a good place to start. They offer 24/7 online chats and confidential phone calls with trained advocates. Their website also provides detailed information pertaining to domestic violence and alternate resources.