April 25, 2019
More than 12 million women and men a year are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That is about 24 victims a minute, according to a National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey.
These are alarming numbers and unfortunately many victims suffer in silence for years either because they feel like they can’t escape the abusive relationship or they are too close to see the warning signs in their own relationship.
If you are worried that you or a family member or friend are currently in an abusive relationship, then look for these warning signs. (Sources include The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Women’s Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine and The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence )
In a healthy relationship, the partners don’t try to control each other’s every move or decision. The following behaviors should send up some red flags:
• Demanding to know where you are every minute of the day
• Keeping close tabs on your phone calls, texts and social media use
• Trying to isolate you from family and friends
• Making all your decisions for you, even minor ones like what you eat or what clothes you wear.
• Limiting your access to important resources like money, transportation and insurance.
While all relationships have ups and downs, you should never feel scared of your intimate partner. Look for these signs:
• They are always jealous of any attention you receive from others, frequently accusing you of cheating
• You are constantly in fear of upsetting them because you know there will be some sort of punishment
• They insult you all the time and humiliate you in front of others
• It is always your fault when you have a disagreement or something goes wrong in their life
If your spouse or intimate partner exhibits any of the following physical aggression toward you, you need to get to a safe space as soon as possible:
• Forces you to have sex when you don’t want to. Remember that prior consensual sex does not mean you can’t refuse them now
• Threatens to hurt you, your children or pets or other family members
• Physically harms you in any way – hitting, punching, pushing, biting, kicking or using a weapon against you.
Unequal power distribution in a relationship is never healthy. Just because your partner tells you that he or she loves you doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that only about 34 percent of those injured in a domestic violence situation receive medical care for their injuries.