Nearly all of us have been bullied at some time in our lives, at least briefly, usually as kids by other kids. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Whether it is a same-sex partnership or heterosexual relationship, all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels- domestic violence knows no boundaries.
Domestic violence goes further than hurting someone physically, it can range from mental abuse to physical abuse. The person being abused may feel guilty, ashamed and intimidated, feeling trapped in a never-ending cycle. Although women are not always the victims, less common, are men who are experiencing domestic abuse. One-fourth of women worldwide will experience domestic abuse or dating violence in their lifetime.
An abuser uses destructive methods of manipulation to keep a person in the relationship and to keep them dominated. These methods can include force and threats, making their partner think they are one at fault, taking full financial control, isolating them from others (others can recognize the signs of abuse and try to interfere), criticize every aspect of their partner’s persona and is belittling. The list goes on. According to dosomething.org boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. If you have ever received any type of domestic abuse, then you understand the despair and discouragement that others may be feeling at this very moment. Abusive behavior is never acceptable, you deserve to feel safe, valued, and respected. We should all learn to recognize the signs and how we can help.
If you are concerned for someone’s well-being in a relationship and believe they are in an abusive relationship, here are some helpful tips to recognize the signs of abuse before it is too late:
- Know the signs. Violence can begin early on in a relationship and at times years down the road. Be wary of red flags an abuser might display at some point in a relationship.
- Don’t ignore it. Police officers hear again and again “I thought I heard something but didn’t want to get involved”. If you hear neighbors and believe it is a violent situation, contact your local police. It could save a life.
- Be available. If someone you know is leaving in fear of violence or thinks it might escalate, be ready to help and create a protective environment.
Below are some websites listed which have lots of information for recognizing abusive relationships, how to help yourself or others, where to find help, and even where to find safety. Please visit these and other sites and prepare yourself to help someone who needs it. You could be their only avenue toward help, safety and peace.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
HelpGuide.org – Domestic Violence and Abuse