Seems like most everyone has their charity of choice. Be it Breast Cancer, ALS or Alzheimer’s, we tend to empathize with a particular cause in which we donate to. With estimates predicting that domestic violence effects one in three women at some point in their lives, I dare suggest that this exceptional subject deserves to be explored, scrutinized and re-examined. I guess you could say that disrupting and eliminating the cycle of abuse altogether has been my go-to “charity” for years.

For those unfamiliar with the clinical definition, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines battering as:

A pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person with whom an intimate relationship is or has been shared through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person believes that they are entitled to control another.

You can find more information concerning domestic violence symptoms on their website. Or, read below for basic comprehensive list of warning signs, courtesy of TheHotLine.org:

Emotional, Mental and Financial Abuse

  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

Physical Abuse

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
  • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you, or actually hurting you with weapons
  • Trapping you in your home or keeps you from leaving
  • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Harming your children
  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you had a substance abuse problem in the past)

So, Now What?

If you find yourself in any of these situations, or notice a loved one experiencing abuse, you’re obligated to report such occurrences. Contact your local domestic violence shelter to develop a safety plan and get the hell out of there! Domestic violence isn’t merely a “women’s issue”, despite how men are less frequently subjected to abuse. Aside from teaching women how to escape such horrific situations, we must also explain to our boys at a very young age how to act when intimately involved with another individual.

To find your local domestic violence shelter, click here. And please don’t allow the burden of shame to keep you isolated. With research suggesting it takes the average “victim” (I prefer survivor) 7-8 attempts before permanently leave an abusive relationship, the key becomes speaking up and reaching out for support.

In recent months, I’ve eased away from lengthy blog posts, because I understand how our instant-gratification society has leaned less towards quality and more towards quantity. Most blogging advice recommends short and sweet posts with less than 500 words to keep readers engaged BUT insists you need to post every single day. First of all, that’s not my style and secondly, I post what I want because it’s relevant to me, not because I give a shit about who’s checking my site and who’s not.

With that being said, I wanted to keep this Domestic Violence PSA short so people might actually read it. Yet, as a Social Worker, this particular subject remains close to my heart. If this post is too long, then too bad. All I’m concerned about is trying to help those in need. (Hashtag, EndRant)

If you would like to speak with me personally regarding domestic violence, please leave a comment with your e-mail address so we can be in touch.