Don’t just watch domestic violence happen, speak out now… NO MORE!
by Eric Dunbar
Domestic violence is a serious crime that has gone unnoticed for too long. Recent reports of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson, who allegedly spanked his son with a switch, and a video depicting star running back Ray Rice knocking his wife out in an elevator, has made the public more aware of this hidden threat.
Millions of innocent women become victims of domestic violence each year. Some are beaten, others are left with permanent injuries, and still others are murdered. Domestic violence of any kind is wrong and it must be stopped.
Are we honestly concerned for the welfare of the millions of innocent and helpless victims of domestic violence, or are we trapped in the cycle of following whatever is trending in the news? We respond immediately by posting and tweeting reports of domestic violence that make front page news, like the Ray Rice incident where Rice is seen knocking his wife out in an elevator. But there are numerous incidents of domestic violence that go unreported and unanswered, some of which occur in our own homes and neighborhoods.
Although men are also victims of violent abuse, by nature men are more adept at defending themselves against an abusive woman. However, men should not be ruled out as recipients of domestic violence.
According to the FBI, a woman is battered every 15 seconds in America. Between 2 and 4 million women are abused each year. Nearly one-half of all men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children. As many as 50 percent of homeless women and children in America are fleeing domestic violence. Studies show that women face the greatest risk of assault when they leave, or threaten to leave their abusive partners, or when they report the abuse to authorities. And these are the incidents that we know about, but most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
Recognizing the Signs of Domestic Violence
Don’t become a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence does not happen overnight. Abusers often display signs that are often ignored by the victim. Here are five major attributes of a potential abuser.
One of the first sign of an abuser is an over-jealous partner. This sign is relative easy to recognize. If at the very start of the relationship your partner starts to question you about who you talk to, displays anger or jealousy about who you spend time with, accuse you of flirting, call you frequently throughout the day, or make regular unannounced visits, you should be weary of continuing the relationship. This is a warning sign that you are in a relationship with an abusive partner. Do not confuse these actions with love. In no way does love place limitations on you as there is always trust in love.
An abusive man will often try to control a woman by pretending to have a genuine concern for her ability to make good decisions and for her safety. If this behavior is allowed to continue the situation will only grow worse, and soon the abuser will take complete control of every area of the victim’s life, including their finances.
This is almost always the next sign to follow controlling behavior. Such verbal abuse is intended by the abuser to be hurtful. It is usually cruel in nature and involves cursing and/or degrading the victim and their values and accomplishments.
The abuser will be dominating toward the victim. If the abuser is a man, he will make it mandatory for the victim to serve him. He will almost always see women as stupid, inferior and unable to function without the supervision of a man.
Domestic violence always involves acts of violence. For example, in an abusive relationship where the female partner is the victim, she may believe it is her fault that she got punched in the eye because she didn’t have dinner ready when her abusive partner came home from work. Such violence is a direct attempt to terrorize the victims into submission. It includes the destruction of the victim’s personal belongings.
This video is an example of domestic violence in action. In the video Cindy, a newlywed housewife, and a second generation domestic violence abuse victim, is on the rink of choosing life or death for her husband. She is bound by her ties of marriage to her cumbersome husband.
Why Won’t Abused Women Just Leave?
Even healthy relationships are complicated. Being in an abusive relationship is even more complicated. The most commonly asked question is “why won’t abused women just leave?” Many factors play a role in the abused woman’s decision to stay with her abuser. Most women who are abused believe that abuse is normal, especially if they grew up in an abusive environment. They find it hard to admit that they are abused. They are embarrassed to admit that they are in an abusive relationship for fear of being ridiculed by their friends and family.
Sometimes the reason for not leaving is influenced by culture or religion. Many religions frown on a woman leaving her abusive spouse, but I find it hard to believe that Jesus would tell a woman to stay with a man who is punching her in the face.
Most abusive men won’’ allow their partner to work, making that partner totally dependent upon them. As a result the abused woman has no money which makes it seem impossible to leave the relationship. Even if they did manage to leave, most women have nowhere to go once they leave their abusive partner. In addition, the majority of abused women do not report their abuse, as they do not believe the police will help them.
What Can You Do If You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence?
Walking out of an abusive relationship is not easy. You might be afraid of what your abuser will do if he discovers you’re trying to leave. But you don’t have to feel trapped and helpless because there are many resources available for abused women. There are hotlines, shelters, job training, legal services, and childcare.
First realize that you are not responsible for your abuse. It is not your fault! Now you must understand that you can end your situation, and you must also know that people care. I care! Follow the links below and put the process into motion to start your new life.
- If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or your local emergency service.
- For domestic hotlines shelters click here.
- If you are a man in an abusive relationship, read Help for Abused Men.
How can you help a victim of domestic violence?
If a friend or family member shares with you that they are a victim of domestic violence and abuse you can…
- Tell them that you believe they are in a difficult and scary situation
- Be supportive and listen
- Not be judgmental
- Continue to support them, even if they end their abusive relationship
- Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family
- Help them develop a safety plan
- Encourage them to talk to people who can provide help and guidance
- Remember that you cannot rescue them
For more information concerning helping a friend or family member who is a victim of domestic violence, call The National Domestic Violence HOTLINE AT 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or visit The National Domestic Violence HOTLINE website