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Domestic violence is when a partner in an intimate relationship has a pattern of abusing the other member in order to intimidate them into a position of control. The abuse doesn’t have to be physical; there are various ways partners can manipulate in order to gain power. For instance…
Emotional abuse occurs when the abuser undermines their partners worth, damaging their self-esteem. Constant criticism, name-calling, and diminishing one’s abilities all count as emotional abuse.
Psychological abuse is when the abuser attempts to cause psychological trauma such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Threats of violence, destruction of pets or property, and gaslighting are some examples of psychological abuse.
Economic abuse is when the abuser uses their financial dominance to control their partner. Withholding money, denying employment, and maintaining strict financial control over a partner are all types of economic abuse.
American Women and Abuse
Both genders are capable of being the abuser in a relationship. In fact, 1 in 7 men in the United States have experienced severe physical violence at the hand of their partner. However, women are more likely to suffer and even die from abuse, with the highest rates being amongst women of color. Between the years 1994 and 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence reported were female. This figure is possibly inflated by the fact that men are less likely to report that they are being abused.
Nevertheless, women are much more likely to die at the hands of a domestic partner; three out of every four murders committed by an intimate partner involve a female victim.
How to Spot Abuse
A person being abused isn’t going to advertise it. Many people feel that it is a private matter between them and their partner. Others fear an even worse retaliation if their partner finds out they went to the authorities. Furthermore, police don’t often help women who report abuse.
Statistics show that police often don’t ask about prior abuse or take photographs of the abuse. In fact, 83% of victims receive no printed information containing resources for the abused.
So how do you know if a friend or family member is being abused? It’s not always easy. People go to great lengths to hide the signs that something wrong is going on at home. However, you may notice that they are anxious and constantly checking the time to see if they need to get home. They may be coming around less, but when they are around they appear sad or depressed.
You notice them wearing clothes that cover their arms, legs, and neck even in warmer weather. They probably make excuses for their partner and have unfounded optimism when it comes to the future of their relationship.
Often, people that are abused turn to drugs or alcohol. In fact, abused women are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 9 times more likely to abuse drugs. Sometimes women use these substances to cope with trauma. Other times their partners introduced them to these destructive behaviors in order to create further dependence.
You may even see signs of an abusive relationship from the abuser. They are often paranoid or jealous. People who abuse their partners in private may make derisive comments about them in public, which the abused dismisses as a “joke.” Abusers are known to speak to their partner’s friends in private about made-up problems in order to diminish their credibility. Furthermore, they could use their partner’s sudden problems with addiction as a reason to blame them for things.
Domestic abuse affects people from all walks of life and both genders. While women show higher rates of being abused, men are much less likely to report it in the first place. Your friend may not tell you that they are being abused, but there are signs that something may be wrong including increased drinking or using illegal substances.
Spotting abuse isn’t easy, but helping a friend showing signs may save their life.
About the Author
Nora Hood is a freelance writer and creator of ThreeDaily.org. She considers domestic violence to be a form of domestic terrorism. She became a passionate advocate for ending domestic violence when she began volunteering at a women’s shelter while in college. She has continued her volunteer work over the years and recently started ThreeDaily.org to raise awareness about the issue while also creating a nationwide activist network of individuals who want to bring an end to domestic violence. The site fosters a community for those seeking information about, writing about, and speaking out about domestic violence.
This video complements our article. It is very emotional, and highlights personal distress very well!!