In the United States, domestic violence is a pervasive issue. In fact, over 10 million women in this country are assaulted by an intimate partner, each and every year. For these women, there is no easy answer. Victims who leave their abuse partners often have to start over from scratch, and, as a result of this type of trauma, many suffer from severe depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and even substance abuse and addiction. For example, according to experts at Sandy’s Place, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, physical and psychological trauma are closely linked with addiction, as many victims use addictive substances to cope with the effects of violence.
Thankfully, though, there is help for women caught in the cycle of domestic abuse. Keep reading for tips on spotting the signs of abuse, as well as information on seeking immediate help and support.
Identifying the Signs of Domestic Abuse
In some cases, the signs of domestic abuse are obvious; in others, they may not be so easy to detect. What’s more, for women caught in the cycle of domestic violence, certain types of abuse may seem normal or acceptable. And, since domestic abuse isn’t always physical, it can be difficult to identify. However, by learning to spot the signs of domestic violence, women are better equipped to break the cycle of abuse and take back their power.
Namecalling. Namecalling, or insulting a partner’s appearance or intelligence, is a strong indicator of verbal and emotional abuse.
Extreme jealousy. Abusers are often jealous of their partners’ friends, family members, coworkers and, in some cases, even their children.
Control. An abuser typically likes to control every aspect of their significant other’s life, including where they go, who they see, etc.
Financial abuse. An abusive partner may like to hide money from their wife or girlfriend, or refuse access to bank accounts, cash and other assets.
Isolation. Abusers often like to isolate their victims from friends and family members.
Aggression. Before escalating to physical violence, an abusive partner may exhibit aggressive behaviors like threatening, punching walls, throwing things, etc.
Sexual abuse. Spousal rape, as well as forcing a partner to have sex ways in which they did not give consent, are definite signs of domestic violence, and can be punishable by law.
Spying or stalking. Abusers often keep tabs on their partners’ phone calls, emails, texts and other interactions.
Any type of physical violence. Domestic violence isn’t defined by black eyes and broken bones; any and all types of physical abuse count as domestic violence. These include hair-pulling, choking, slapping, grabbing, pushing and other types of unwanted physical contact.
Fear of the unknown keeps many women trapped in abusive relationships. These victims fear for their safety, and that of their children, if they should leave an abusive partner, and they often feel powerless to change their circumstances. Thankfully, there are many resources for women in these situations, a few of which are listed below:
Emergency services. If you, your children or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 and, with the help of police, get to safety.
Domestic violence hotlines. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233. Here, trained professionals can walk victims through the steps necessary to getting out and staying safe.
Friends and family members. Trusted friends, neighbors and family members can provide emotional support, a safe place to stay, and other types of help.
Counseling. Counseling and support groups can help survivors of abuse gain the insight and coping skills necessary for building and sustaining self-esteem, emotional well-being and psychological health.
Domestic violence groups. There are countless groups, programs, and organizations dedicated to stopping domestic violence. Check out a few here.
If you or someone you love feels trapped in an abusive relationship, know that there are ways out. Reaching out and getting help, right now, can mean the difference in life and death. And with guidance and support from professionals and loved ones, you can break the cycle of violence, and enjoy a safe, healthy and happy life.