About half of the women in the world have been victims of intimate partner violence at some point in their lives and it is the leading cause of injury for women between the ages of 15-44 in the United States. Often women say that they are not sure how they got into abusive relationships and after realizing their partner’s violent tendencies were unsure of how to leave. There are five signs that a romantic relationship is abusive or headed in that direction:
1.) Growing levels of isolation- violent partners often isolate these women from their family, friends and sometimes jobs. This makes them completely dependent of the violent partner and with no witness to what is taking place in the home, nobody to show the bruises to.
2.) Emotional abuse- usually these men use hurtful words and insults to break down a woman’s self-worth and self-esteem. Doing this enhances her feelings that she will be unable to survive or completely incompetent without the relationship.
3.) Psychological abuse- this includes destroying property, hurting pets and /or using surveillance to keep the woman under constant watch.
4.) Sexual abuse- there are many ways that sexual abuse is displayed, it includes (but is not limited to): false accusations of infidelity ties to terrifying inquisitions, claiming sexual ownership over partner, forced sexual acts and coercing partner into unwanted sexual acts.
5.) Escalating levels of control- this can include things such as giving the woman an allowance and insisting she has receipts to account for every penny, constant monitoring of cell phone call log and not allowing the female partner to go anywhere in public without male partner.
If you or someone you know is involved in a relationship that involved domestic violence don’t lose hope. There are many resources and professionals that can help. It is important to reach out to a professional counselor to get help. These professionals can assist you in creating safety plans while in the home and a detailed exit strategy on how to get out of an abusive relationship. If your partner exhibits any of the behaviors above, but has not physically assaulted you it will be easier to leave before the violence starts. For more detailed information on where to go and what to do check the domestic violence website