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Published: 6 years ago


Once again, the month of October has rolled around and it is set aside as the "Domestic Violence Awareness Month."  Why we need to set aside any day or month to improve awareness is beyond me - this happens each year, and each year the reported cases of domestic violence and abuse has increased from the previous year's collected data.

Here's what abuse and domestic violence IS, according to various sources:

Physical  and Emotional Abuse

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Forbidding or preventing 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 or threatening to harm them
  • 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’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)
  • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
  • Trying to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Demanding to know where you are every minute
  • Punishing you by withholding affection and "rewarding" you by demonstrating affection
  • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets or following through with threats to harm you, your children, or pets
  • Humiliating you in any way
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Gaslighting
  • Accusing you of cheating and being often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior
  • Cheating on you intentionally to hurt you and then threatening to cheat again
  • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are
  • Attempting to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
  • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them

Sexual Abuse And Coercion

  • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names - insulting your sexual prowess or performance
  • Forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts  (i.e.:  if you don't do ____, I won't let you "get any")
  • Holding you down during sex or restraining you against your will
  • Demanding sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you
  • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
  • Forcing you to watch p 0 r n o g r a p h y or demanding that you perform sex acts as viewed in p 0 r n o g r a p h i c imagery (photos, videos, literaray)
  • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you
  • Making you feel like you owe them — ex. Because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift
  • Giving you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions
  • Playing on the fact that you’re in a relationship, saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love for me,” “If I don’t get sex from you I’ll get it somewhere else”
  • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don’t immediately agree to something
  • Continuing to pressure you after you say no
  • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no
  • Trying to normalize their sexual expectations: ex. “I need it, I’m a man” or, "You're not man enough to satisfy me"
  • Refusing to use a condom or other type of birth control
  • Breaking or removing a condom during intercourse
  • Lying about their methods of birth control (ex. lying about having a vasectomy, lying about being on the pill)
  • Refusing to “pull out” if that is the agreed upon method of birth control
  • Forcing you to not use any birth control (ex. the pill, condom, shot, ring, etc.)
  • Removing birth control methods (ex. rings, IUDs, contraceptive patches)
  • Sabotaging birth control methods (ex. poking holes in condoms, tampering with pills or flushing them down the toilet)
  • Withholding finances needed to purchase birth control
  • Monitoring your menstrual cycles
  • Forcing pregnancy and not supporting your decision about when or if you want to have a child
  • Forcing you to get an abortion, or preventing you from getting one
  • Threatening you or acting violent if you don’t comply with their wishes to either end or continue a pregnancy
  • Continually keeping you pregnant (getting you pregnant again shortly after you give birth)

Financial Abuse

  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
  • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
  • Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
  • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
  • Stealing money from you or your family and friends
  • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
  • Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
  • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns
  • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine

Spiritual Abuse

  • Demanding that you convert to their religion or they will leave you
  • Demanding that you abandon your own relgion or spiritual practices
  • Interfering with your ability to attend services
  • Refusing to allow you to practice your rituals or celebrate your religious holidays
  • Refusing to allow you to take your children to religious or spiritual functions
  • Ridiculing your beliefs

Digital Or Technological Abuse ***Recognized since advances in technology have made communication global***

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.
  • Puts you down in their status updates.
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
  • Pressures you to send explicit video.
  • Steals or insists to be given your passwords.
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

This is a long, long list and some of these behaviors may be quite familiar, and others were simply not identified as means of abuse.  In either case, none of these behaviors will "improve."  The success rate of abusers who stop their behaviors and stand accountable for the damages that they inflict are less than 1%.  Do not fool yourself into believing that your significant other will fall into that percentage - it's not worth your dignity or your life, or the lives of your children.  Regardless of what they promise, an abuser will never, ever, EVER "get better" or stop abusing.  If emotional abuse doesn't satisfy their need to control, they'll switch to financial abuse.  If that doesn't work, they'll add another type of abuse.  And, so on.

From the "National Domestic Violence Hotline (," some facts about abuse are:


On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.[i]
Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.[ii]
Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of IPV that included rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iii]
1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iv]
IPV alone affects more than 12 million people each year.[v]
More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[vi]
Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).[vii]
Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.[viii]
From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.[ix]

Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.[x]

Sexual Violence

Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) have been raped in their lifetime (by any perpetrator).[i]
Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.[ii]
81% of women who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.[iii]
35% of men report such impacts of their experiences.[iv]
More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.[v]
For male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance, and 15.1% by a stranger.[vi]

An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime (i.e. unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a nonphysical way). 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact (by any perpetrator).[vii]


One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (by any perpetrator).[i]

Two-thirds (66.2%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.[ii]
Men were primarily stalked by an intimate partner or acquaintance (41.4% and 40%, respectively).[iii]
Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic for both female and male victims of stalking (78.8% for women and 75.9% for men).[iv]

An estimated 10.7% of women and 2.1% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.[v]


A child witnessed violence in 22% (nearly 1 in 4) of intimate partner violence cases filed in state courts. [i]
30 to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. [ii]
There is a common link between domestic violence and child abuse. Among victims of child abuse, 40% report domestic violence in the home (from a WORLD REPORT).[iii]
One study in North America found that children who were exposed to violence in the home were 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually assaulted than the national average.[iv]

The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect suggests that domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in this country.[v]


In a nationwide survey, 9.4% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey.[i]
About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.[ii]
More than a quarter of male victims of completed rape (28%) were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger (by any perpetrator).[iii]
About 35% of women who were raped as minors also were raped as adults compared to 14% of women without an early rape history.[iv]
Most female victims of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.[v]
One in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year.[vi]
Most female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (69% of female victims, 53% of male victims) experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.[vii]
43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse.[viii]
Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) college women say they have been in an abusive dating relationship.[ix]
52% of college women report knowing a friend who has experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse.[x]
More than half (57%) of college students who report experiencing dating violence and abuse said it occurred in college.[xi]
58% of college students say they don’t know what to do to help someone who is a victim of dating abuse.[xii]
38% of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves if they were a victim of dating abuse.[xiii]
More than half of all college students (57%) say it is difficult to identify dating abuse.[xiv]
1 in 3 (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, email, or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.[xv]
1 in 5 college women has been verbally abused by a dating partner.[xvi]
1 in 6 (16%) college women has been sexually abused in a dating relationship.[xvii]
1 in 4 dating teens is abused or harassed online or through texts by their partners.[xviii]
Victims of digital abuse and harassment are 2 times as likely to be physically abused, 2.5 times as likely to be psychologically abused, and 5 times as likely to be sexually coerced.[xix]
Nearly 1 in 10 teens in relationships report to having a partner tamper with their social networking account (the most frequent form of harassment or abuse).[xx]
Only 1 in 5 victims say they experienced digital abuse or harassment at school and during school hours (most takes place away from school grounds).[xxi]
About 84% of victims are psychologically abused by their partners, half are physically abused, and one-third experiences sexual coercion.[xxii]

Only 4% experience digital abuse and harassment alone. So social media, texts, and e-mails don’t seem to invite new abuse, they just provide abusive partners with a new tool.[xxiii]

In The Workplace

Nearly 33% of women killed in U.S. workplaces between 2003-2008 were killed by a current or former intimate partner.[i]
Nearly one in four large private industry establishments reported at least one incidence of domestic violence, including threats and assaults, in 2005.[ii]
A survey of American employees found that 44% of full-time employed adults personally experienced domestic violence’s effect in their workplaces, and 21% identified themselves as victims of intimate partner violence.[iii]
64% of the respondents in a 2005 survey who identified themselves as victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence. More than half of domestic violence victims (57%) said they were distracted, almost half (45%) feared getting discovered, and two in five were afraid of their intimate partner’s unexpected visit (either by phone or in person).[iv]
Nearly two in three corporate executives (63%) say that domestic violence is a major problem in our society and more than half (55%) cite its harmful impact on productivity in their companies.[v]
Nine in ten employees (91%) say that domestic violence has a negative impact on their company’s bottom line. Just 43% of corporate executives agree. Seven in ten corporate executives (71%) do not perceive domestic violence as a major issue at their company.[vi]
More than 70% of United States workplaces do not have a formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence.[vii]
Nearly 8 million days of paid work each year is lost due to domestic violence issues – the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs.[viii]
96% of domestic violence victims who are employed experience problems at work due to abuse.[ix]

At this point, anyone who has taken the time to read this entire post is either confounded, or concerned, or both.  How can this be such an epidemic with our cutlures and societies becoming more and more "progressive?"  It happens because it does and the legal consequences for DV&A are not in parallel with the extent of damages that are wrought by DV&A.  Additionally, there remains a tremendous stigma, particularly for female-on-male violence and same / trans-gendered incidents. 

So, what to do about this pandemic?  Call authorities if you witness abuse, of any type, particularly when it is perpetrated in front of children or against children.  Donate items to your local "Victims' Services" agency in the way of clothing, toiletries, food, bedding, household items, or cash donations.  Volunteer if you have the ability to do so.  And, always remember that non-physical abuse is the most damaging and insidious because it leaves no visible scars or marks, and victims are FREQUENTLY blamed for the abuses that they've endured and often dismissed, outright, for a misperceived shame.  And, an absence of abuse is viewed by the victim as literally an act of kindness, such is the damage that they've endured.

If you are involved in an abusive relationship, it will never, ever get better.  Your only option to recover and heal is to get out of the relationship.  Sometimes, this means filing for divorce or leaving everything behind.  In this situation, conacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline or your local Abuse Hotline can be of a great assist.  Trained professionals can help you to formulate a safe exit strategy and lead you to a number of legal, housing, employment, and housing resources, along with medical and emotional health needs. 

Remaining in an abusive relationship is a choice.  Plain and simple.  There are always options, even if some of those options aren't pleasant or have a fairytale ending.  Getting out is an extreme challenge and your plan to leave should never, ever be discussed with anyone (including family, friends, or children), under any circumstances.  Well-meaning friends or family  members may alert the abuser to your plans in a mistaken attempt to "save" your relationship or "help" the children.  Children should never be included in an exit strategy because the abuser knows how to harm them, as well, and even the most encouraged child should NEVER be put in the middle of adult issues - they don't deserve to be raised in an abusive environment, and they don't deserve to have their delicate and impressionable psyches tested for their loyalty.  It is too great a burden for them to carry.



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