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
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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…
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.
ALSO SEE: Empowering Women