Domestic Violence is Often Hard to Identify
Domestic violence isn't always clearly identifiable and doesn't immediately start in the beginning of a relationship. DV can start off very insidiously and build over time to the point of physical violence. Recognize the early signs such as belittling, berating, and degrading comments. A partner isolating someone from friends and family. Controlling a partner's every move down to what they eat, who they talk to, and how they spend money.
Domestic Violence doesn't only happen to women in heterosexual relationships
Domestic violence doesn't just happen to women in heterosexual relationships; it can occur in homosexual, lesbian, or trans relationships as well as to men in heterosexual relationships. Men in domestic violence situations often don't share their experience with abuse due to shame. We also can't assume that same sex relationships are less likely to experience domestic violence. Look for the behaviors listed above as well as the following if you are in a same sex or trans relationship: Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity. Tells you that authorities won't help a lesbian, bisexual or transgender person. Tells you that leaving the relationship means you're admitting that lesbian, bisexual or transgender relationships are deviant. Says women can't be violent.
There is a Pattern of Abuse in Domestic Violence Relationships
A cycle of abuse is often repeated in Domestic violence relationships. An abuser threatens then enacts violence against the victim, followed by apologies and promises to change while showering the partner with love and affection. The cycle takes a great toll emotionally and physically the longer someone remains in it, making it harder for the person experiencing the abuse to leave the situation.
If you or someone you care for is in an abusive relationship; there is help and resources to help leave the abusive situation safely.
This topic of the week was written by Alanna Gardner, MFT