Domestic abuse is not always just physical. It is not just a shove, a punch or even yelling. It can also include intimidation psychologically and emotionally to gain control over a partner (domestic violence can happen between straight, homosexual and bisexual relationships and can be instigated by males or females). Many times, domestic violence does not happen in the early stages of a relationship. It happens over time as a person’s dignity is ever so subtly stripped away until she or he feels trapped by the other person out of fear and hopelessness. Check out this “Power and Control” wheel by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It shows a pretty accurate description of what could possibly happen in a domestic violence relationship.
Here are some warning signs of abuse:
- You feel and/or are told you can never do anything right.
- Someone is attempting to shame or insult you.
- Someone is controlling who you see and when you see them.
- Someone isn’t allowing you to go to work or school.
- Someone destroys property or hurts (or threatens to hurt) pets.
- Someone threatens to harm or take away children.
- Someone is taking your money or refusing to give you any money.
- You’re being pressured sexually. Perhaps he or she doesn’t listen when you say you don’t want to have sex and still coerces you to engage in sexual activity you are not comfortable with.
- You’re being pressured to engage in drugs or alcohol.
There are different types of abuse. Here are the different types and a couple examples of each. To learn more, visit the www.thehotline.org website.
- Hurting you physically. Includes punching, biting, kicking, pulling hair, choking.
- Preventing you from calling the police.
- Not allowing you to eat or sleep.
- Calling you names, insulting you, humiliating you, overly criticizing you.
- Unwilling to give you affection.
- Cheating on you and claiming, “It’s your fault.”
- Forcing you to have sex for any reason (this includes involving others in your sexual activities against your will).
- Intentionally passing on a STD/STI.
- Hurting you during sex (forcefully holding you down, using objects or weapons sexually).
- Refusing to use contraceptives.
- Not allowing you to use any form of birth control.
- Forcing or preventing an abortion or adoption.
- Not allowing you access to your money.
- Stealing your paycheck(s).
- Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the needs of the household.
- Closely monitors your friends and posts on social media accounts.
- Demands explicit pictures of you and sends you unwanted explicit pictures.
- Goes through your phone to keep tabs on your phone calls, texts, and pictures.
No one deserves to be treated poorly. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you only experience one or two of these examples. You shouldn’t be experiencing any of them. We know it’s difficult and scary. We also know these relationships are complex. But, remember, you are not alone. We see you. Contact Bridges. We will walk alongside you and connect you to the right resources to best help you in your situation. And, as always, if you feel that your life or your children’s lives are in danger, call 911 immediately.