Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Love Shouldn't Hurt: Signs and Types of Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DVAM evolved from the “Day of Unity” in 1981. DVAM intention is to educate, advocate, and empower the nation to end violence against women, men, and children. In 1987, the very first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. During this year, the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was implemented. Two years later after DVAM was observed, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

Domestic Violence is becoming more prevalent but it is still a taboo subject within various communities. Domestic violence hurts everyone whether you are directly or indirectly affected. Many victims of domestic violence suffer in silence because they feel that they are the blame due to society and many people blaming the victim. Many people feel that domestic violence victims provoke the situation and deserve what they had come to them. This is a sad and distorted way of thinking but in our society, we would rather blame someone for the situation rather than deal with this situation by providing advocacy, empowerment, and encouragement towards these victims.

Domestic violence is a learned behavior that one person uses to gain power and control over the other partner. Domestic violence can occur between married and non-married couples, heterosexuals, and homosexuals. 1 in 4 women is affected by domestic violence. About 2 in 5 men are domestic violence victims. Many men who are domestic violence victims abuse often go unnoticed by local law enforcement and the judicial system. According to Domestic Violence: The Male Perspective states: "Domestic violence is often seen as a female victim/male perpetrator problem, but the evidence demonstrates that this is a false picture."

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. No matter of age, sex, race, religion, education status, employment, or ethnicity. Your coworker, your neighbor, and even a family member could be a victim of domestic violence. Even you reading this article can be a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate! 

Who are Abusers? Abusers are difficult to distinguish. Abusers could be the nicest people in the public view but could be monsters behind closed doors. Abusers usually hit the victims in hidden places in which no one can see. Abusers have learned these behaviors in order to get what they want. Usually, the abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological. Abusers usually have low self-esteem and do not take accountability and responsibility for their actions. The abusers blame the victim for causing the abuse. For example, the abuser would say to the victim, “If you cleaned up more, I wouldn’t call you names.” 

Six Forms and Signs of Abuse

Physical Abuse:  When physical force is being used against another person. Physical abuse can possibly injury or put the person at risk of being injured. Physical abuse includes pushing, throwing, kicking, shaking, biting, grabbing, restraining, burning, or even murder. Physical assault is a crime.

Emotional/Verbal Abuse: Involves mental, psychological, or mental abuse through verbal or 
nonverbal. This type of abuse consists of subtle actions or behaviors compared to physical abuse. A slap to the face may cause a black eye but verbal and emotional abuse leave a severe psychological scar. Studies prove that emotional and verbal abuse is more detrimental than physical abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse includes threatening, destruction of the victim's personal property, yelling or screaming, name-calling, blaming the victim for how the abuser acts or feels, or even making the victim feel that there is no way out of the relationship.

Sexual Abuse: Often linked to physical abuse which may interchange with one another. Sexual abuse occur usually a bout of physical abuse. Sexual abuse includes: forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe, sexual activity, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation (forcing someone to look at pornography).

Financial/Economic Abuse:  Involves controlling the monetary assets of one's partner. One partner uses money as a means of controlling his or her partner. One partner may either be unemployed or underemployed while the abuser is the breadwinner. Financial abuse includes controlling the finances, withholding money or credit cards, giving out an allowance, or withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).

Spiritual Abuse: Involves one partner misguides you in the name of God and tries to control you in the name of God. Some partners use this abuse to control your mind and faith. Spiritual abuse includes psychological and emotional abuse, isolation or separation from family and friends due to religious affiliation, prevention from practicing faith or conformity to a dangerous religious viewpoint and practice. 

Digital Abuse: We live in a digital world in which abuse, bullying, harassment, stalking, and intimidation are all at our fingertips through text messaging and social media sites. Do not accept someone's disrespect via text or social media sites. What to watch out for: when your partner, family, or friend slanders, taunt, or bully you through a status update on Facebook, tweets, DM, or messenger. When your partner monitors your social media sites and tells you who you can or cannot be friends with. When your partner checks your phone frequently to check your text, photos, and phone log.  

Abusive relationships just don't involve bruises, broken limbs, and blackened eyes. Abuse is abuse and doesn't allow anyone to dismiss or minimize your abusive relationship. You have the right to be involved in a healthy relationship. You are the light and you radiate greatness.  Don't suffer in silence, find a safe and trustworthy person to confide in. This person can be a therapist, life coach, family, friend, or mentor. 

If you feel that you are a victim of domestic violence please seek assistance immediately. Help is available to you anonymously and confidentially 24/7 at the Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. If you are at imminent risk please call 911. If you decide to leave, create a confident, safety plan which would include emergency contact, the phone number to a local shelter, your ids, your children's birth certificate, money, and a packed bag. 

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