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Recognizing Domestic Abuse Signs and How to Find Help

by Tracey A. Maine on October 8, 2020

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

According to The Center for Family Justice, domestic abuse is “a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that is a pervasive life-threatening crime affecting people in all our communities regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, social standing and immigration status.” 

How widespread is the domestic violence epidemic in the U.S.?

According to statistics, in the United States alone a woman is beaten every 9 seconds and nearly 20 people are emotionally abused by their partner every minute. In addition, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness, and calls to domestic violence hotlines on a daily basis have recently been totaling somewhere around 20,000. 

How is domestic violence characterized?

  • Physical Abuse: A partner deliberately physically harms the other in an effort to control or belittle them.
  • Financial Abuse: One partner uses threats of withholding money or necessities such as a car to control or belittle their partner.
  • Emotional Abuse: One partner uses calculated insults and constant criticism to chip away at their partner’s self-esteem. 

What are the character traits of an abuser?

The following are traits normally exhibited by people who are physically, financially or emotionally abusive:

  • Women embracing in rehab group at therapy sessionThey have both a public and private persona that’s reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • They are extremely possessive and jealous.
  • They try to brainwash their partner into thinking they’re not as intelligent as they are.
  • They constantly blame their partner for their abusive and controlling behavior.
  • They try to isolate their partner from their family and friends.
  • They use any excuse to humiliate their partner especially when they’re in public.
  • They encourage their partner to quit school or their job to be more accessible to them.
  • They need to dominate every conversation they’re in under any circumstance.
  • They’re threatened every time their partner asks for any sort of privacy.
  • They take anyone disagreeing with them very personally and see this as an act of betrayal.
  • They overreact and throw tantrums when they don’t get their way.
  • They make threats of taking money, possessions, children, pets, etc. away from their partner when they don’t follow their rules.
  • They have very unpredictable violent tempers.

What’s it like living with an abuser?

Listed below are some emotional responses that describe someone who is living in a domestic violence situation:

  • Young woman confiding problem to her support groupThey constantly feel like they need to walk on egg shells and act as if they’re invisible around their partner-especially in their own home.
  • Every time they leave the house they feel forced to account for — and defend — everything they did that day.
  • They live with the agonizing fear that if they tell someone what living with their partner is really like they’ll be judged.
  • They’re constantly afraid to ask their partner for anything for fear they’ll be shamed and criticized in return.
  • They feel like they have to obey their partner’s every request or face some sort of terrible consequences.
  • They think about leaving their partner but are afraid they’ll never be able to survive on their own.
  • They’re afraid that if they do leave their partner they will begin stalking, harassing and threatening them.

How can someone get out of a domestic violence situation?

  • Find someone you can trust and start telling them the truth about what’s really going on in your home.
  • If you don’t have a job update your resume and start looking for one.
  • Start setting some money aside so if you had to leave you’ll have some cash on hand.
  • Consider what you would need to take with you, and what you could leave behind, if you had to leave in a hurry.
  • Start thinking about friends or family members you could potentially stay with if you decided to leave.
  • If you don’t have anywhere safe to go find out if there’s a domestic violence shelter in your area you can call for advice and support.

Where can anyone in a DV situation find help locally?

If you’re in a domestic abuse situation and live in either Athens, Hocking or Vinton counties you can find help at My Sister’s Place. MSP is a domestic violence agency located in Athens, Ohio. Some of the services they provide include a 24/7 hotline, outreach counseling, and an emergency shelter.

For more information on My Sister’s Place call 1-800-443-3402.

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