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On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship. Partners may be dating, married or not married; separated; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together or not living together. Such abusive behaviors can include pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing objects; choking, isolating you from your loved ones; being called names and threatening to hurt you. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, crossing all boundaries of culture, age, race, sex, education, and socioeconomic status. No one deserves to be abused, no matter what the circumstances.” 
I believe there are many common misconceptions about domestic abuse. The most popular are that people tend to think that only women are on the receiving end of abuse or that abuse is only a physical thing. Well neither of these ideas are correct. With this article I hope to educate, motivate and encourage people to make an effort to end domestic abuse.
Society, since the beginning of time, has always made men to be the dominants; the rulers of the universe. To this day they are even worth more than a woman (they make more in the workforce). Yet times have been changing in this past century and with the strives for equality and women empowerment many things have changed. This day in age, women and men are on the most even playing field ever. Women are out there along with men fighting wars, they are CEO’s and are even in their own right rulers of the universe. While some things seem to improve, it seems that some things just don’t change. Women are still constantly on the receiving end of abusive attacks but that’s not all times have changed, is it? Nowadays, men are also known to be victims of abuse.
When abuse is usually depicted on film and in literature they tend to tackle the most violent of abuses: physical and sexual abuse. Yes these tend to be the most violent ones that leave physical and psychological scars. However, all forms of abuse leave scars. They change you. So if you are not being raped, molested or beaten how do you know it is abuse? Is there any surefire way to know if you are in an abusive relationship?
- 1. If no doesn’t mean no. No matter who it is or what the situation may be- no
- means NO.
- 2. Do you guys hit each other? If you do it playfully- stop. One day it’ll get out of hand and it’ll no longer be funny to you. And if it is already violent in any way then yes that is coined as domestic violence and is in term not a healthy relationship.
- 3. Verbal abuse and mental abuse can pretty much go hand in hand. They are pretty similar to physical abuse except that the abuser does not use their fists. Are you being screamed at? Belittled? Made to feel worthless? Losing sight of yourself? Is your self-confidence hanging in the balance or already a long forgotten memory? This form of abuse is the hardest to pinpoint because it is the one that only leaves emotional scars and no one will know unless you say something.
- 4. Is there a sense of extreme control in the relationship? What I mean by that is that either you or your partner always have a need to be in control and exert such control in nearly every aspect of your partners life. Where they go, who they go out with, who they talk to…?
“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship.”
- 5. Does your partner try to keep you isolated from your family and friends? This is one that comes to be a pretty big deal and surefire way to know. For whatever the reason, if you want your friends and family around and your partner attempts to keep you apart no matter what the excuse- you should be worried. Isolation is a pretty big way to keep the abused from leaving. Afterall, who will you run to?
Everyone is entitled to a healthy relationship. Everyone deserves to be loved. But how much of yourself are you willing to throw away for “love”? Love is an emotion that is meant to give more than it takes. In a healthy relationship, when love takes, it’s only what you are willing to give. If you find yourself in a situation where this is not the case, your better off moving on. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Cliché I know. But it’s true. The type of “love” you are being shown is no love at all. It is a leech. It will take from you til you think that you can’t give anymore. Then it will continue to take from you until there is nothing left to take.
These type of people are abusers and I like to put these abusers into two categories. There are those that see how great you are and are scared of you leaving so they abuse and brain wash you in the attempt of ensuring you stay. The other group has had life throw them enough curve balls and they don’t know how to deal with it and tend to lash out. The second doesn’t sound so bad right? It might make you a little more sympathetic to the abuser, but abuse is abuse no matter what the cause is. No matter how much you love them and hope that they will change, wishful thinking isn’t enough to turn the tables.
Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
Are you within that number? In knowing that someone you love is being abused what can you do to help? In truth, there isn’t much you can do. This person is in the relationship and it is their choice to put up with it. Nothing you do will make them leave. If you are too aggressive the abused will most likely push you away. Not that this is an official decree, but in my opinion, the best you can do is to offer them moral support. In the I-want-you-to-know-that-no-matter-what-you-can-count-on-me way. No matter what’s going on with your life or what decisions you make, I’ll always be here for you. Make sure you follow through with it. Be there for them. You need to become the epitome of love: Understanding, acceptance, caring, patient, honest and non judgemental. People in abusive relationships often believe that even with the abuse that what they have going on is love. I believe it helps that if in your own way you remind them of that what love really is (in a very platonic way of course). We all need support. Show them a way out. Give them that option.
You are being abused. Now what?
As judgmental as people may be, leaving isn’t necessarily the easiest or safest thing to do- without a plan. “Women who leave their abuser are at higher risk (75% greater risk) of being killed than those who stay.” What does this mean for the abused? If you are in a physically abusive relationship, death is just a hit too hard in the next beating. There is always the risk of death. But that doesn’t make it ok and my advice will always be the same: get out. There are organizations all around the world that provide help to families being affected by domestic abuse. One website that provides the invaluable resource of listing such agencies all around the world is HotPeachPages. Seek help. Call a hotline. Even if it’s just to hear what they suggest. Lean on your friends and loved ones and don’t lose hope.
To find out more check out this links:
Domestic Violence 101
And if you are in a charitable mood or looking for a tax write off, donate money to these centers that help families affected by abuse get back on their feet:
Break The Cycle
© 2013 Seven Magazine