I read a post today on Gather about domestic abuse that broke my heart. Domestic abuse knows no sex, age, color or circumstance. Abuse can be mental, physical, emotional, sexual or financial. When you become a victim, it is difficult to get out. The abuser does everything to make the victim feel afraid, helpless and useless.
As former victim and legal advocate, I felt the need to share some important information about domestic abuse, taken directly from the National Domestic Violence website:
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
- Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
- Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
- Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
- Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.
- Does not want you to work.
- Controls finances or refuses to share money.
- Punishes you by withholding affection.
- Expects you to ask permission.
- Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
- Humiliates you in any way.
You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:
- Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
- Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
- Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
- Scared you by driving recklessly.
- Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
- Forced you to leave your home.
- Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving.
- Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
- Hurt your children.
- Used physical force in sexual situations.
You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:
- Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
- Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
- Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
- Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
- Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts.
- Held you down during sex.
- Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you.
- Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.
- Involved other people in sexual activities with you.
- Ignored your feelings regarding sex.
There is help available. Shelters, hotlines and social services are established to help the victims of domestic violence and their children. Domestic violence has a terrible effect on the self-esteem and perspective of children growing up in these homes.
If you are a victim, the toll-free National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE. Remember, there is no excuse for abuse. The hotline is available anytime, anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Computers can be monitored so I am not linking to the website. Calls can be made from phone booths outside the home to ensure total privacy and protect your safety.