Domestic Violence Isn’t Always Physical
No matter what gender you are, odds are that you or someone close to you has been abused by a partner or loved one. Abuse doesn’t only mean physical violence. Psychological and emotional abuse happens on the regs, but we may not be aware of it, since it doesn’t always line up with the idea of “domestic violence.” They don’t leave marks on our outsides but they certainly damage our insides. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we are here to help you become aware of the signs that point to these other kinds of abuse.
Controlling behavior is a very common method of abuse. Things like controlling the social calendar, always having to know where their partner is (at any stage in the relationship), and requiring phone passwords are common abusive tactics. So is controlling where a person goes by restricting driving or even leaving the house. Monitoring internet usage is a modern way of abuse that may fly under the radar. This can be restricting it altogether, or snooping through browser histories and grilling the other person on what sites they visited.
Humiliating their partner is something that gives abusers the power they crave. Constantly putting down their partner, making them feel stupid or unattractive, and abusive nicknames are things you may have seen or experienced.
False blame and gaslighting can make a true victim convinced that they are the ones who should be apologizing. Did you see Midsommar? This is what Christian was doing to Dani when she found out about the trip. The abuser will flip the script through word games and the victim will end up apologizing. Cheaters will often accuse the innocent of cheating with no rhyme or reason.
Financial abuse can have great consequences, but some people might be conditioned to it. Someone might gain sole control of bank accounts, or dictate when their partner can spend their own money. I’ve seen people being forced to pay for their partner’s phone, vehicles, or rent when they don’t even live together. Now some people may genuinely do that without being forced to, but others are made to do these things under threat of the end of the relationship or escalated physical and emotional abuse.
Keep an eye out for behaviors like these, and have open, honest conversations with your friends. People will cover for abusers due to embarrassment, anxiety, or fear. Here are some resources to learn more, or if you or your friends need help.
- TheHotline.org and 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) is the home of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help you get help for your friends, family, and yourself. 24/7 onine chat is there for you to help you get to safety ASAP. Get advice on building a balanced relationhip, and see their blog for more reading that keeps you educated and informed.
- Your local community likely has support organizations, so see what you can find with a quick google search of your area. SF has La Casa de las Madres. They have 24 hour support and work to keep victims of any age safe, educated, and aware. They assist with emergency shelter, drop-in counseling, and other services for DV victims and their families. NY Urban Resource Institute offers similar help and services to adults and children, and even has some pet-friendly shelters.
- National Latino Network focuses on DV in Latinx communities. They not only offer resources for victims, but they are working on changing public policy and laws to better meet specific needs of Latinx communities.
Gonna leave you with a bit of background history to show how public awareness of domestic violence got where it is today. This is Esta Soler. She was a force that created and influenced organizations and policies that continue to help women across the country. Check out her TED Talk below.