October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with that being said I will be posting information on this issue. Education is power, so the more widespread this becomes, the more people we can empower to get the help they need.I hope to bring some clarity to this topic as this is something that really hits very close to home for me as you may have read in my last post.
I know that there are several sites out there to offer assistance, and there is no need to fear of “being caught” I know several of these sites have a button on their page that you can click on and it directs you to a completely different site such as a clothing site or a news site. These sites are designed to inform and protect you.
So what is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.
Abuse is to treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.
Types of abuse:
Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Physical abuse does not always leave a mark, and may not even cause pain.
Examples of physical abuse:
·Picking something up and throwing it at you, for example; a shoe, a book, or a phone.
·Pushing or pulling you.
·Forcing you to have sex or to perform a sexual act.
·Grabbing your face forcefully to make you look at them.
·Forcibly grabbing you to either prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.
A lot of people ask the question “How do I escape?” I remember when that seemed like it was totally impossible. From personal experience, the first step is knowing that you are not alone. There is always a friend or family member that you can go to and talk about your situation. No matter how obscure your relationship may be with someone, no one wants to see anyone in an unsafe relationship. I know at times I felt alone and like I had no one to go to, but when I came forward with my story, it was amazing the number of people that came out of the woodwork to offer me strength and encouragement.
Abusive relationships escalate. So it’s important that people are aware of the warning signs to prevent any more harm.
Emotional/Verbal abuse does not include physical contact. It is verbal threats, insults, “checking-in”, excessive phone calls and/or text messages, intimidation or stalking.
Examples of Verbal/Emotional abuse:
·Calling you names
·Putting you down
·Embarrassing you in front of others.
·Keeping you away from your friends and family (Isolation)
·Making you feel guilty when you do not give your consent for sexual activity.
·Blaming your actions for their abusive behavior.
·Telling you what to do
·Telling you what to wear
·Making threats to commit suicide to stop you from leaving them.
·Making threats to harm you, your pet, or people you care about.
Sexual abuse is any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It also refers to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, which includes oral sex, rape, or restricting access to birth control and condoms.
Just because you are in a relationship does not entitle your partner to have sex when he or she wants it. Just because someone does not say no does not mean that they are consenting to it either. Sometimes the victim does not resist or say no out of fear of further physical or sexual abuse.
Examples of sexual abuse:
·Unwanted kissing or touching
·Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity
·Rape or attempted rape
·Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
·Keeping someone from protecting themselves from STD’s or STI’s.
·Sexual contact with someone who is intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or in any way unable to give a clear yes or no answer.
·Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.
·Constantly pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts
·Regularly using sexual insults toward someone.
Financial abuse is when someone tells you what you can or cannot buy, and shares control of your bank accounts credit cards, and cash. This form of abuse is particularly dangerous when coupled with any other form of abuse. Financial abuse is often how an abuser forces someone to stay in the relationship.
Examples of financial abuse:
·Giving you an allowance and paying close attention to what you buy.
·Depositing your paycheck into their account and denying you access.
·Not allowing you to view the bank records.
·Not allowing you to go to work, or if you do work sets a limit of how many hours you can work a shift.
·Stopping you from going to work by taking your car or keys.
·Getting you fired by harassing you,your employer or coworkers at your job.
·Using your social security number to obtain credit without your consent.
·Refusing to give you money, food, rent, medicine or clothing.
·Spending money on themselves yet not allowing you to do the same.
·Buying you gifts, or taking you out to dinner and paying for it and expecting you to in some way return the favor.
·Using their money to hold power over you because they know you are not in the same financial situation that they are.
No one has the authority to tell you what to do with your own money. No one has the authority to tell you if you can or cannot work, and if you can how many hours you are allowed to work. You are your own person, your own individual. What’s yours is yours, and what’s theirs is theirs. If you want to buy something for yourself than you are allowed to do so. If by chance you have opened up a shared bank account, I suggest you go and open up a personal one right away, if you are getting paper checks, get that new account and see if your employer has the option of direct deposit. If your social security number was used, report it! And see about changing your SSN.
Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. This same behavior is also a form of verbal or emotional abuse done online. It is never okay for someone to lower your self-esteem, make you think less of yourself or to manipulate you.
Examples of digital abuse:
·Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on social media sites.
·Sends you negative or threatening emails, messages on social media, or any form of messaging on the internet.
·Uses social media sites to keep tabs on you.
·Tears you down on their posts.
·Sends you explicit pictures and demands you to do the same.
·Pressures you into sending explicit videos of yourself.
·Steals/hacks or insists on you given them your passwords.
·Continuously texts you and has you feel like you cannot be away from your phone in fear of further consequence.
·Looks through your phone and checks your photos, text messages, and call history.
Whether on or offline no one deserves to be mistreated. Verbal and emotional abuse hurts just as bad whether it is in person or over the internet.
Stalking is when a person regularly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and afraid, A stalker can be anyone, it can be an ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, a family member, or a complete stranger. The legal definition for stalking varies from state to state, below are several examples of what stalkers may do.
Examples of stalking:
·Showing up at your home or place of employment unannounced or uninvited.
·Sending you unwanted text,letters,emails and voicemails.
·Leaves you unwanted items like gifts or flowers.
·Repeatedly calls you and hangs up, or does not respond when you answer.
·Uses social media to keep tabs on you.
·Calls your employer
·Waits at places where you are known to hang out.
·Uses other people to gain information about you.
·Damages your property such as: your car, or home.
Make sure to save your call logs, text messages, emails, DM’s etc. Even if you need to take a screenshot of something to save as evidence. If you are out and you see the individual make sure to make a note of the place,time and dates. Also jot down names and contact information of any witnesses.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race,ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.
Women and men can be victims of domestic violence.
·1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
·Men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults in the U.S.A.
·Domestic Violence is likely to take place between 6pm and 6am.
·More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.
·At least ⅓ of families using New York City’s family shelter system are homeless due to domestic violence.
·Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
·Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
·More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners.
·1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year.
·Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.
MOST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCIDENTS ARE NEVER REPORTED.
·Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.
·On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
·1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
·1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
·1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
·On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
·The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
·Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
·Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
·19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
·Domestic violence is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
·Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
These stats are only of those incidents that have been reported. Can you imagine what the numbers must really be like? Take me for example, I never called the police when an incident happened, even after I left. Out of pure fear of what he may possibly do to me. Imagine how men must feel. To report that they are being abused (even if it’s not the physical aspect of it).
What people who have never been in a domestic violence relationship fail to realize is that just walking away is so much easier said than done. It’s not so easy to just break up and walk away!
Fear: He or She may be afraid of what may happen if they leave. They may have been threatened or been told something would happen to their child or a loved one.
Believing Abuse is Normal: They may not know what a healthy relationship looks like. They could have grown-up in an abusive environment.
Fear of Being Outed: If they are in a same-sex relationship and have not come out, their partner may use it against them, using it as blackmail so they don’t leave.
Embarrassment: It can be hard for someone to admit that they are being abused. They may feel that it is their fault, and worry that friends and family will judge them.
Low Self-esteem: He or She may constantly get put down by their partner, and may even be blamed for the abusive behavior. It is very easy for them to believe these statements and think that it is their fault.
Love: Some may stay in the relationship hoping that their partner will change. Hoping that things will go back to the way they once were. Some just want the abuse to stop, not the relationship on a whole.
Nowhere to Go: Some may think that even if there were a way to leave, that they do not have a place to go or anyone to turn to. What some fail to realize is that the abuser isolates the victim. They keep them away from their friends and family. Leaving the victim feeling helpless.
So I am sure you’re all wondering; “What can I do to help?”
The most important thing someone can do is be supportive and listen. Do not judge!! Please know and have some understanding that an abusive relationship is not easy to just walk away from. Assure them that there are options available. For instance the websites that are listed in this blog. You could even research avenues for them in their area and pass the info on to them.
If you have any questions please feel free to go on to my contact page and send me an email. I will do whatever I can to help.
Loveisrespect.org gives detailed information on what domestic violence is, and the different forms of domestic violence abuse. They strive to educate the youth to help prevent and end abusive relationships. The website has an ample amount of information on the different types of abuse as well as ways to get help and to help others.
Safe Horizon :: Moving victims of violence from crisis to confidence. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http://www.safehorizon.org
Safe Horizon is a website which has a lot of statistical and factual information, and resources on how to get help. Their mission is to “provide support, prevent violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence.”
Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics
ncadv.org is dedicated in giving victims and survivors of domestic violence a voice. They strive in bringing awareness to the public by offering programs and education to increase understanding of the impact that domestic violence has.
Photo credit: “Psychology Today.” : Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. .