End Domestic Violence. By Kylie faller

The term domestic violence refers to abusive behavior in any personal relationship that allows one partner to intimidate, or to gain power and control over the other. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional abuse, and economic control. These are behaviors intended to intimidate, frighten, terrorize, humiliate, manipulate, or injure someone. Even if you think there is nothing you can do to stop this from happening, there always is. Reach out for help and spread the word to end domestic violence.

Physical Abuse is just one of the many different types of abuse victims experience. It includes physical acts such as shoving, grabbing, pinching, hitting, slapping, hair pulling, and other acts that could cause physical damage. Physical abuse is most closely associated with domestic violence especially against women. On average, nearly 20 people every minute are physically abused by their partner in the United States. This adds up to more than 10 million women and men over the course of one year. By speaking out and standing up for yourself or others you can hopefully decrease this number and end domestic violence.

Sexual Abuse is another type of abuse that many people experience with their significant other. It includes forcing sexual contact, rape, attack on sexual body parts, and sexually demeaning another. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime, and that only includes the rapes that have been reported. Don't be ashamed. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or is in a relationship where sexual abuse is an ongoing occurrence, speak out and get help.

Emotional abuse is one other type of abuse. It involves the destruction of a person’s self worth or self esteem. Acts of emotional abuse include name-calling, constant criticism, and degrading an individual’s abilities and talents. Victims of this type of abuse often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and actions, low self-esteem, and difficulty trusting others. This can highly effect someones day to day life and mental abuse is something you never truly forget. Wounds heal but memories will be with you forever.

Economic abuse is just one of the many other damaging types of abuse victims can experience in an violent relationship. It involves exerting control over another individual by maintaining total control of financial resources, withholding a partner’s access to money or financial assets, or hindering or forbidding employment or education. Victims of this type of abuse lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year. Also between 21-60% of victims of economic abuse lose their jobs due to reasons due to the abuse. Your hard earn money and your job are two things that you worked hard to earn and that no one else has the right to take away from you. By being a victim of this type of abuse your whole life and future could be at jeopardy. Don't let someone else control your hard earned money and take away your profession that allows you to be able to live day to day. Call someone and make the issue known.

Although domestic violence is very common there are ways to prevent it from happening and eventually stop the occurrence of it all together. Some warning signs to watch out for in order to tell if someone you know or even yourself is in an abusive relationship include him or her telling you that you can never do anything right, showing extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away from them, saying demeaning comments or shaming you with put-downs, controlling every penny spent in the household, taking your money or refusing to give you money for necessary expenses, preventing you from making your own decisions, telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children, preventing you from working or attending school, destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill someone you care about, intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons, pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with, and also pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol. If you or anyone you know experiences these warning signs then it could mean you are in an abusive relationship. Its important to always be alert for these warning signs in order to potentially save yourself or another person from being a victim of domestic violence. If you notice any of these things going on in your own life or another persons life, speak up! Don't stay silent.

You might be reading this and be thinking to yourself, I am in an abusive relationship yet I don't know how to stop it from happening to myself. If you find yourself in this situation then here are some ways to help yourself get out of the relationship. You can contact a domestic violence program, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233), or go to a safe house. You can also change your phone number and other contact information, consider getting a restraining/protective order, screen your calls, save and document all contact, messages, injuries, or other incidents involving the abuser, change your locks, avoid being alone, plan how to get away if confronted by the abuser, if you have a restraining or protective order then always have a copy with you and leave a copy at work, find out if there is a domestic violence response policy at your work place and ask questions if you don't understand how it works, or consider joining a support group at a local domestic violence program. You need to know that you are not alone. Many people are going through your same struggle everyday. Never be afraid to try and get out of your current abusive relationship because there is always people out there who are willing to help.

While domestic violence was initially used to label physical assaults against women by their husbands, the fact is, acts of domestic violence are committed by both men and women, against their spouses or same-sex partners. Nearly 1 in 10 men in the United States has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior (which includes being kept track of by demanding to know his whereabouts, insulted or humiliated, or felt threatened by partner’s actions) by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Many men often don't report their abuse in fear of being ridiculed or being perceived as unmanly. However, domestic violence is not something to be ashamed about. It is not a sign of weakness or instability in your character. It just goes to show anyone can be a victim of domestic violence which is why its important everyone is educated about the topic so they can hopefully end it.

If you aren't personally in a abusive relationship there are still things you can do to help stop it from happening. You can call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence, speak out publicly against domestic violence, refer whoever you suspect is being abused to a domestic violence outreach organization, consider reaching out to whoever you believe is being abusive and talking to him or her about your concerns, educate others on domestic violence by inviting a speaker from your local domestic violence organization to present at a local place, encourage your neighborhood to watch for domestic violence, donate to domestic violence counseling programs and shelters, and be especially vigilant about domestic violence during the stressful holiday season. All of these things might not seem important to do since you might be thinking that its none of your business, but by doing some of these things it could potentially save someones life. Its important to speak out for others and help them get out of their abusive situation if they don't have the courage to do it by themselves.

Here is a true story about a woman named Anna who experienced domestic violence from her partner. "My first husband was mentally and physically abusive and had a sexual addiction problem. I knew before we married about a family history of abuse. Once before our marriage, he threatened to kill us both in the car. I thought his behavior would change once he moved away from his family, and for a very short time it did. Before I gave birth to our first child, twice he again threatened to kill us in the car. After I gave birth, his mental abuse of manipulation, questioning my fidelity and stalking me escalated. After the birth of our second child, his sexual addiction was ignited and he began a series of affairs. Depression robbed me of my ready smile. It was like walking on eggshells, but I loved him. His continual physical abuse ceased the day he belted me so hard I lost partial hearing in one ear and then he raped me. Afterward he felt remorseful and I was grateful for the cessation of physical abuse. Within months, I saw my children withdraw from their father. In the final futile weeks I remained with him, I narrowly stopped him from a sexual advance on our daughter, and watched in horror as he threw a knife at our son." she eventually overcame her abusive relationship by undertaking counselling after demanding her husband to leave the house for good and then began divorce proceedings one year later. It took me a lot of false starts, but eventually I stepped out of an abusive relationship. Anna is now re-married and enjoying every minute of what a real marriage should be. Don’t waste another minute of your life trying to change an abuser. She overcame her horrible experience which just goes to show that you can too.


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