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Understanding Domestic Violence

Submitted by Becky Smokey

Family Support Council

For those of us who have never had to experience domestic violence or have never known someone in that situation, it may be hard to understand why a woman just doesn’t leave.

The answer seems so obvious and easy just leave.

Unfortunately, for the more than 1,400 women a year who are murdered by their husbands, ex-husbands and boyfriends, it wasn’t that easy.

For those who find it hard to understand why she doesn’t leave, ask yourself these questions:

– Have you ever backed down from an argument because you felt intimidated, scared or threatened?

– Have you ever stayed in a relationship longer than you should have because you felt responsible for the other person, or possibly you stayed for the children?

– Have you ever had doubts that you could make it on your own, doubting your ability to earn enough money for yourself and your children?

– Have you ever wondered where you would go if you left?

– Have you ever felt you would be ashamed or embarrassed if anyone found out?

– Have you ever had black eyes or broken bones?

– Most importantly, have you ever felt that if you left your relationship, you could be killed?

– The battering personality. Many people are interested in ways to predict whether they are becoming involved with someone who will be physically abusive. The more signs a person has, the more likely that the person is a batterer.

In some cases, a batterer may only exhibit a few behaviors, but they are very exaggerated, such as extreme jealousy over small things.

Violence occurs in one in three adult relationships. It doesn’t matter if the couple is married, living together or dating. Each year, 3-4 million children and adolescents witness violence in their own homes. The impact can be devastating. Do you recognize any of these situations:

– Are you accused of being unfaithful or of flirting?

– Are you questioned constantly about where you have been and whom you were with?

– Are you blamed for all the problems and are your family and friends accused of causing trouble?

– Have you ever been told that you are stupid and worthless?

– Are you slowly being isolated from family and friends?

– Do you notice sudden mood swings and is your partner easily insulted?

These are just a few of the personality traits that a batterer may possess.

– Is your relationship healthy? A strong relationship is based on equality and respect. Think about how you treat and want to be treated by someone you care about.

A healthy relationship is built around respect, honesty, fun, trust, caring, listening, forgiveness, growth, friendship, faithfulness and commitment, just to mention a few.

In your relationship, do you have open communication, shared responsibility, respect, honesty, trust and support?

Obsession, jealousy and possessiveness in a relationship are not about love and caring. They are about insecurity, control and manipulation.

When one person in a relationship repeatedly scares, hurts or puts down the other person, it is abuse. Abuse can be more than slapping or grabbing. It can include intimidation, possessiveness, humiliation, threats, physical and sexual abuse.

In the strongest relationships, respect can’t be beat. If you have questions or concerns about your relationship, talk to someone.

For more information, call the Family Support Council at 782-8692.