Domestic Abuse: Getting Help
Does your spouse or partner blame you for his or her mistakes? Prevent you from seeing family or friends? Curse, mock, or humiliate you? Force you to have sex? Restrain or hit you? Intimate or threaten you? Prevent you from leaving the house, getting a job, or continuing your education? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse takes many forms, from screaming threats to pushing and shoving. Contrary to what many women think, abuse isn’t just physical battering but can include emotional, economic, or sexual abuse. It can involve the use of threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to maintain power.
In the vast majority of cases, men are the abusers. Nearly one in three adult women experiences a physical assault by a partner during adulthood, according to the American Psychological Association. Domestic abuse occurs across all racial, age, and socioeconomic groups — no woman is immune.
Often, women in abusive relationships try to deny that abuse is occurring, or give rationalizations and excuses for their partner’s behavior. But a woman’s own feelings about her domestic situation may be one of the true tests of abuse. If you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship, answer the following questions:
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Do you feel as if you have to tiptoe around your partner to keep him or her from getting angry?
- Has your partner ever hit, slapped, or pushed you?
- Do you ever feel as if you deserve to be punished?
- Do you ever feel you’ve done something wrong but can’t figure out what it is?
- Have you lost all respect or love for your partner?
- Is your partner good to you most of the time but every once in a while very cruel or scary?
If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, it may be time to seek outside help.
A good start is to visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Web site or call the 24-hour domestic abuse hotline. The Coalition suggests that you consider leaving your partner and create a safety plan to protect yourself in a violent situation. Your local police department may also be a reliable source of information and help. Also visit iVillage.com for information, domestic abuse initiatives, and support groups.
Have a question? It’s probably answered here.
You may be quite surprised by this report.
A lot of background research is given here.
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