To launch the new season of his show, “The Dr. Phil Show,” Dr. Phil McGraw, began by tackling an issue that has become epidemic in the United States: domestic violence. Domestic violence is not new, but the silence is profound. Millions of women and men are in violent abusive relationships. The horror endured by those in such a relationship is incredible, and without getting help these relationships are likely to end in the death of one or more of the partners. Here are some facts from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
1. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
2. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
3. 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
4. Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
5. Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
6. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
All of these aforementioned facts should be alarming to every person in a relationship. Intimate partner violence is never okay, and anyone who is in a situation where violence is expressed should seek help. Even if you are not in such a relationship, it is possible you know someone who is, and if that is the case, help! There are many ways to help someone who is in a dangerous situation, but before you can help, you must know the signs. Here are some signs you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation:
- Abuse alcohol or other drugs.
- Have a history of trouble with the law, get into fights, or break and destroy property.
- Don’t work or go to school.
- Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets.
- Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names excessively.
- Are always angry at someone or something.
- Try to isolate you and control who you see or where you go.
- Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don’t want to.
- Cheat on you or have lots of partners.
- Are physically rough with you (push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain).
- Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways.
- Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on them.
- Don’t listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings. . .Things always have to be done their way.
- Ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or hang up on you.
- Lie to you, don’t show up for dates, maybe even disappear for days.
- “Check out” or make lewd comments about others in your presence.
- Blame all arguments and problems on you.
- Tell you how to dress or act.
- Threaten to kill themselves if you break up with them, or tell you that they cannot live without you.
- Experience extreme mood swings. . .Tell you you’re the greatest one minute and rip you apart the next minute.
- Tell you to shut up or tell you you’re dumb, stupid, fat, or call you some other name (directly or indirectly).
- Compare you to former partners or excessively bad mouth former partners.
Some other cues that might indicate an abusive relationship might include:
- You feel afraid to break up with them.
- You feel tied down, feel like you have to check-in.
- You feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects so that the other person won’t get mad.
- You tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be just fine.
- You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
- You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy.
- You find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time.
Adapted from the Domestic Abuse Project
Can you answer yes or identify with any of the things on the above list? If you or someone you know can identify with even one of the behaviors or situations listed above then you/they may be in an abusive relationship and must get help immediately.
Where can you go to get help?
You can report all known and suspected incidents of domestic violence to the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 1-800-787-3224, your local police department for assistance, contact the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, for Shelter information in Roanoke: www.roanokeva.gov/85256A8D0062AF37/CurrentBaseLink/N254VM2L899SALYEN, and for more information and resources: Virginia’s Accredited Domestic Violence Programs.
No one deserves to be in a relationship in which violence is present. There is nothing a person can do to ever deserve abuse of any kind. Please get help if you are in this situation. You are not alone, there are those who are available to help you, and you can survive.
The best love is that which is shared, and love does not hurt, harm, or maim.
To contact Pamela, please send emails to [email protected]