Information on Domestic Violence That is Essential to Know To Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
Save or share this number to save a life 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
Every October is national domestic violence awareness month in the US. A month where we take time to make ourselves aware of signs of abuse and what we can do to help domestic abuse survivors. Many countries around the world have seen a spike in domestic violence (DV) cases, sadly agencies across the country have reported similar increases as well. Experts reported “Quarantine conditions are associated with alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Stay-at-home orders may cause a catastrophic milieu for individuals whose lives are plagued by domestic violence”. It is a disheartening common rule that help can not be given to DV victims until they ask for help. My hope in writing this post today is that you learn why abuse continues, what domestic violence may look like, and actions to take if you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, domestic violence happens year long and is not set to one singular month out of the year, but we can take this designated time to educate ourselves so that we can be there for a friend, family member, coworker, or even a stranger.
As a loved one for the victim, you can help them map out a safety plan or call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) in the event it’s decided enough is enough.
Why does abuse continue, when will people learn to respect their partner’s value as a person and their right to a healthy, and loving relationship? It is a question that has been racking my brain every day for the past 6 months now. There are many reasons why an abuser may feel he has the urge to take advantage of their partner. You have probably heard the phrase “Hurt people hurt people” alluding to the idea that people who have been hurt or even abused in the past continue the cycle by inflicting the same pain they suffered through in the past. Abuse is indeed a learned behavior, learned from parents, friends, or even from how the culture is structured (i.e. misogyny). There are varying factors such as drugs and alcohol usage that may escalate the opportunity but it does not cause the abuse. Either way, an abuser’s “urge” to abuse isn't even an urge at all, it's a choice. A choice that was made to strategically create their desired power dynamic. As long as the choice is made to hurt each other, Domestic violence will continue to run rampant in our humanity.
We all may have our own ideas on what domestic violence looks like, Hollywood has portrayed these scenes vividly, but real life is different than movies. DV wears many masks, it can take any face and can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, race, socioeconomics. Domestic violence may not show its ugly face until months or even years into the relationship. I’ve spoken to a few victims of domestic violence and it is alarming how common it is for the victim to not even know that what their partner is doing constitutes abuse simply because of the time spent, and emotional connection built. The hotline lists warning signs for domestic violence and urges that all types of abuse are serious.
These warning signs are listed but not limited to:
+Telling you that you never do anything right.
+Showing extreme jealousy of your friends’ time spent away from them.
+Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
+Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
+Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
+Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
+Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
+Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
+Intimidating you through threatening looks or with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
+Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
+Destroying your belongings or your home.
The hotline is a website filled with information that I recommend scrolling through when you have a moment. They describe what each type of abuse looks like and that in an abusive relationship there is generally more than one type of abuse used to control the partner. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence is categorized as; physical, emotional and verbal, sexual, sexual coercion, reproductive coercion, financial, and digital and stalking. It is important to understand these warning signs so that you are better suited to help the victim, or yourself.
Allow me to point out, the victim must come forward stating the abuse their partner is doing to them before any legal action can take place. It is not always so easy for the victim to leave. Here are just 50 reasons on why a victim may not decide to leave for good, it is important for boundaries to be respected and that we as loved ones provide love, support, and patience. It is extremely hard to watch someone be tormented but we can not stop it until the victim is willing to corroborate the abuse. The best course of action for the victim is to begin the process of documenting each instance of abuse and threats. With those documents, you can go to www.womenslaw.org for state by state legal course of action. As a loved one for the victim, you can help them map out a safety plan or call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) in the event it’s decided enough is enough.
Looking for support, help, or information is a huge step and shows incredible strength.
I grew up with a friend who was living in a household where domestic violence was taking place. I felt her fear, anger, and helplessness as she told me she couldn’t help because she had too many younger siblings and feared what could be done to them if she notifies the authorities. I didn’t know that 10 years later as an adult I would be in the same predicament with my family. In my case, The abuser is a convicted murderer with multiple convictions of assault and drug dealing; He weakened my family member by drugging her with PCP and waking her up in the morning and interpreting the bible to her. My family member is living in a state of fear and unfortunately, the reality is that she can’t receive any form of protection until she reaches out for help. With her boundaries respected, I can only provide her with a safety plan, loving support, and proper self-care routines. My goal is that she sees value in herself to the point that she realizes she deserves so much more.
With all that’s been said, allow me to end with this direct quote from thehotline.org
“We understand that this is such a difficult thing to experience and that you know your situation best. These tips are very general, and you should never follow any advice that makes you feel unsafe. Looking for support, help, or information is a huge step and shows incredible strength. Remember, you do not have to go through this alone.”
With Love and Gratitude,