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Abusive Relationships: Are you or someone you know in one? How can you tell? What can you do? (with 20/20 youtube video)

Posted by Catherine Morgan on August 16, 2007

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Abusive Relationships: Are you or someone you know in one? How can you tell? What can you do? — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship? Do you know someone who is? What warning signs can you look for?

Since nearly one third of American women have been in some sort of abusive relationship, chances are that one of these women may be you or someone you know. So, what do you do? How do you help? I think having as much information as possible is a good place to start.

From the Family Violence Project

Abuse is a pattern of coercive behavior (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, and spiritual) used by one person to control another’s actions and feelings. One way to think of these behaviors is as tactics, actions which are chosen and planned. An abuser is not “out of control” — the abuser is trying to control the victim.

This is Anne’s Story

When she left her abusive relationship, Anne knew she’d work with women escaping domestic violence — once she’d regained her confidence.

“Violence takes its toll on a woman’s self-esteem,” says Anne, a mother of two. “When I left my former partner, I was just in survival mode. People think once you leave everything will be OK, but it is difficult raising children on your own and even more difficult when you still have your safety to consider. — read more

Why do women stay in abusive relationships?

It’s not uncommon to hear “Why do women stay in abusive relationships?” or “Why don’t they leave?” These types of questions, although common, have a tendency — whether unintentional or not — to blame victims and to suggest they enjoy or thrive on being abused. If they didn’t enjoy being ill-treated, they would leave, right? Obviously, if they choose to stay, they must have low self-esteem, right? No. — read more

What about your teenager? Could your daughter have a boyfriend that is abusive and controlling? Chances are…yes. Parents and teens need to understand the signs. If you are the parent of a son that is exhibiting signs of control or abuse with his girlfriend, it’s your obligation to step in. It’s not too late to teach him that this is NOT how to treat a woman. By helping him now, you may be able to stop the cycle…Maybe he can go on and be a loving, caring, and non-abusive husband some day.

Teenagers are often involved in abusive relationships

Teenagers often experience violence in dating relationships. Statistics show that one in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship. In dating violence, one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse. Dating violence crosses all racial, economic and social lines. Most victims are young women, who are also at greater risk for serious injury. Young women need a dating safety plan.

It’s also a fallacy to believe that only poor and/or unemployed women are victims of domestic violence. You may be working along side of a woman that could use your help, your understanding, or your friendship. Don’t assume that a woman who doesn’t ask for help, doesn’t really want or need it.

What about the corporate side of domestic abuse?

By ignoring the direct and indirect effects of domestic violence on employees, business owners lose $3-$5 billion annually. In addition, employers forfeit another $100 million in lost wages and lost work associated with domestic violence in the workplace.

The Internet is a great source of information on where to find help and support if you are in an abusive relationship. However, even without access to the Internet, your local phone book will have toll free hotlines. But, in an emergency…(call 9-1-1).

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

In many cases, even after a woman is free from domestic violence, the affects of this type of abuse can still haunt the woman through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

More than 70 percent of women who are victims of domestic violence exhibit the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a survey by Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry study panel. — read more

NOWThe National Organization for Women

NOW is unique in its approach to the issue of violence against women, emphasizing that there are many interrelated aspects to the issue — domestic violence; sexual assault; sexual harassment; violence at abortion clinics; hate crimes across lines of gender, sexuality and race; the gender bias in our judicial system that further victimizes survivors of violence; and the violence of poverty emphasized by the radical right’s attacks on poor women and children — all of which result from society’s attitudes toward women and efforts to “keep women in their place.”

Places to find help and hope…

Safe Places – Where hope grows and violence ends.

Recover Your Life Forum

How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship?

Here is a story from 20/20 on domestic violence, it is quite shocking.

Nordette, a BlogHer contributing editor did a post on Domestic Violence back in May.

Unfortunately, the courts don’t make it easy for a mother to leave an abusive husband, contributing editor Mir did a post on this about a year ago. From personal experience, I can say that this is an area that needs “real” reform.

Also see: Custody Preparation For Moms

If you have a story or additional links to share on this important topic, please leave them in comments. Thanks.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at Women 4 Hope and Informed Voters

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ALSO SEE: Empowering Women

One Women’s Voice

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5 Responses to “Abusive Relationships: Are you or someone you know in one? How can you tell? What can you do? (with 20/20 youtube video)”

  1. Anonymous said

    I’m scared of my boyfriend right now. Because he gets angry very easily. He is from Mexico and I know for a fact that mexican men get angry very easily. I have been with him for about 2 months now and he gets angry at the smallest things. You would have to be there to understand and to feel the tension that I feel. He has put my life in danger before when we are in the car and he is driving because he drives really fast and crazy. I cheated on him once and we were talking about it at the park and he was really angry and the way that he keeps himslef from doing anything is holding me tight. But that night I couldn’t hardly breath because my neck was held tightly against his shoulder and his arm was around my neck pulling really tight that he was shaking. For some reason we were talking about when I cheated and he said “Watch out the next time that you will do something like that again, because I really am trying not to hurt you.” I asked him what he had meant by “trying not to hurt me,” and he said nevermind. But I said tell me. and he said “I try not to hurt you the same way you hurt me.” But that doesn’t make any sense. He says he loves me so much and he would never cheat so why would he tell me he has to “try.” I think that he meant he has to try not to hurt me when he gets angry about those things. Before we were together I was telling him I couldn’t be with him and he started getting angry I could tell. He sat on the grass and started ripping grass out agressinvely. I need to know if this could become an abusive relationship. help?

  2. Hi “Anonymous” — I’m not a professional in this area at all, so I can’t really give you much advice…If I were you though, I would check out your local phone book, and look for the ABUSE HOT-LINE — they will be able to help you understand if you are in an abusive relationship or not, and give you advice on what to do. I’m sorry I can’t help more. I wish you all the best.

  3. Donna said

    I guess the question that you want to ask yourself is (Do you want to live the rest of your life like this) I am sure that you can talk to someone that can help you get out of this. You need to remember its not ok to be abusive to women. I would take a self defense class and know that if needed you can protect yourself. Don’t think it gets any better 2 months is easy to walk away and you will thank yourself in the long run. Todays young women need to know that they really don’t need a man in their life that thinks its ok to be abusive.
    Walk away fast Donna http://www.guardyourselfnow.com

  4. how to get youtube plays…

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  5. ego-t said

    ego-t…

    […]Abusive Relationships: Are you or someone you know in one? How can you tell? What can you do? (with 20/20 youtube video) « women 4 hope[…]…

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