Domestic violence is far too common an occurance

The fourth column in a series, courtesy of the Anti Violence Advocates Society

Domestic violence is a far too common occurrence. It does not discriminate and can happen at any time during a relationship. It takes place in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It crosses all ethnic, social, and economic levels.

Signs of domestic violence often are overlooked, denied, or excused. The truth is that there is never an excuse. The only way to end domestic violence is to be aware.

Domestic violence can be more than physical abuse. It can include sexual, verbal and emotional abuse as well.

Physical abuse includes any type of abuse that causes physical harm or injury. Sexual abuse is any form of a sexual situation in which you are forced to participate in sexual activity that is unwanted, unsafe, or degrading. Emotional and verbal abuse diminish self-worth and self-esteem. This is usually done in the form of verbal abuse – including name-calling, yelling, and shaming.

Abusers commonly use tactics to gain control over their victims. Abusers often may try to make their partner feel bad or “less than.” This tactic is used to make their partners stay. By engaging in behavior such as insulting, name-calling or other forms of humiliation, the abuser is able to diminish self-worth. Many victims start to believe the negativity and begin to feel they do not deserve anything else and no one else would want them.

An abuser may also take on the dominant role. This is often overlooked because it can be mistaken for “being in control” or “taking on responsibility.” This type of abuser will make all decisions and expect things to be done the way they want it without question or input.

The last thing an abuser wants is for their victim to realize that they could be okay without the abuser, or for others to point out that the relationship is unhealthy. While there are quite a few tactics to create this belief, an abuser may begin to isolate their partner from family and friends. In extreme cases, they may try to prevent their victim from going to work, school, or other outside activities. (to be continued)

If you have been living in an abusive relationship, you may feel confused and afraid and not know where to turn or what to do. You may have mixed feelings of love and anger; wanting the abuse to end, but not wanting the relationship to be over. If you are in immediate danger call 911. For help contact Interior Health Crisis Line 1-888-353-2273.