(The following statistics was taken from a local newspaper ad of the Killeen Daily Herald, digitally emailed on 10/19/18) In a survey, (collection details of which were not given) nearly 25% of women and 8% of men admitted to being sexually assaulted by a spouse (current or ex) or by their dating partner. One in four teens also report being abused either physically, verbally, emotionally, or sexually which places them at risk for continued abuse as an adult unless someone intervenes in their life immediately. You can’t imagine how many teens come to me and tell me the words in the image above. I then have to teach them why and how it is that someone that says they love you can turn into a monster and do such heinous things to you.
October is Domestic Violence Prevention & Bullying Prevention & Awareness month. Purple is the awareness color. These are very in-depth topics, and I cannot do them the true justice they truly truly deserve; so please, please continue to educate yourself on these topics because as my MI training in the Army taught me and I find it true to this day in all things- KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!! It will educate and strengthen you in more ways than you know. Of course you also know that, (my caveat/disclosure) as a Christian counselor, I have to add no true strength comes from within, but from God Himself who gives us that strength!
Violence has always been known to be physical abuse, but even now in the 21st century, I find myself still teaching people that it is so much more than that! That is just the more overt abuse. The one like in the image above-with the physical scars that heal over time. I want you to also know about the more insidious abuse-the ones that leave the lifetime scars. Sexual abuse, economic abuse, using male privilege, emotional/psychological abuse. Yes! These are the ones no one will actually see and are harder to prove or do something about. The sexual abuse is getting much better now that we are educating people, but not for the emotional/psychological abuse. This one is the one where the bully (or the target) in school grows into an adult with no intervention. He/she uses coercion, threats, intimidation- with words or my “favorite” “the look”, using isolation, using the children, or minimizing, denying and blaming, and finances. In my case, it was the children and the finances that were used to control and intimidate/threaten me.
He/She will make you feel like it is always your fault, then apologize later on and tell you it won’t happen again- until he gets stressed out over something. You CANNOT stop this cycle. It WILL get worse.
RED FLAGS: There are many, but I will only list a few for you which make my hairs stand up….. (wherever it says “he” I also mean she as well….)
- Is he very,very jealous?
- Does he want to know where you are every minute?
- Does he believe you belong to him- it’s you & him against the world”?
- When he gets mad, are you afraid of him?
- Does he say he “can’t help losing his temper”, or blames the alcohol or mental health problems or anything else for his abuse of you?
- Does he believe men are superior to women?
- Does he ask you for receipts when you go shopping?!!!
- Do you have to show him your texts/emails? (probably just grabs the phone)
- Does he act like two totally different people (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)?
- Does the public see him/her as this fantastic, sweet/nice, social, or maybe even quiet person?
- Does he make you feel like maybe things weren’t quite the way you remembered them or saw them; you thought you were going “crazy” at times? Gaslighting…. this was me!
If you answered YES to ANY of these questions, you could be involved with an abusive partner.
Why does he/she do this? An abuser abuses for one reason- for power/control over you!
National Network to End Domestic Violence https://nnedv.org
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence http://www.ncadv.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org
If your spouse/partner asks you to look at this with excitement and tells you something like ” I’m an ok guy/girl!” 🙂 or maybe asks your honest opinion and lets you have an honest discussion, I say hurrah and lucky you. That’s exactly what should happen in a relationship. In an abusive relationship, the abuser will keep this information from you. He/she will not allow you to empower yourself.
I pray I’ve been able to share enough information with you to start you on your journey -if needed; stay safe, be happy. OR maybe you now have information that you can one day share with someone who may need it. God Bless.