Domestic abuse, sometimes referred to as spousal abuse or domestic violence, can be subtle or it can be overt. It can be perpetrated by women against men, men against women, and men against men, or women against women. It can happen to anyone, although it is most often denied, hidden, minimized or excused until it reaches such critical proprotions, where the victim is so severely injured or even killed, that an article makes the news.
Abuse occurs when one person tries to dominate and/or control the other. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame and intimidation to gain and maintain control. They tell you it’s your fault! It is not your fault!
Abuse often starts as emotional and verbal, then escalates to physical violence. While physical injury is the consequence most often discussed, the results of verbal and emotional abuse can be crippling.
The first step to getting help and ending an abusive relationship is admitting that you are in an abusive relationship. How do you know?
Are you afraid of your partner much of the time? Do you walk on eggshells around your partner when certain topics are discussed? Do you feel that you can’t do anything right? Do you believe that you deserve to be treated badly? Does your partner act excessively possessive or jealous? Do they demand to know where you are/what you are doing most of the time? Does your partner touch you in anger, hurt you, threaten to kill you, or threaten to kill themself if you leave? Does your partner destroy your belongings, abuse your pets, or force you to have sex?
THESE ARE ONLY SOME OF THE SIGNS OF ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. There are many more. What to do?
In the U.S. call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and worldwide, go to the International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a list of helplines and crisis centers. Here in the South Bay, call NextDoor Solutions at 408-501-7550. The 24 hour hotline is 1-408-279-2962.
USE A SAFE PHONE OR SAFE COMPUTER. Computer history and phone calls made can be tracked.
Remember; if you have children, they are also in danger. Even if the abuser does not target them, they are witnessing your abuse and will deal with lifelong consequences.
BE SAFE. Hotlines will help you to prepare for getting out. It won’t be easy, but is it easy to stay?