“Always ask the questions you want to, life is too short to know if you’ll get a second chance to ask.” -- Kaitlin Hollon
There are many reasons a victim of domestic violence may stay in the relationship for some time. The abuser may have threatened to hurt the victim, the children, pets or themselves if the victim leaves. Domestic violence victims often feel like the abuse is their problem and their fault, and that they are responsible for fixing the relationship. They may not realize they’re being abused if the abuse isn’t physical (and even if it is). They may be embarrassed or ashamed by what has happened to them. They may feel that they can’t break their wedding vows or they might feel restricted by community or religious expectations. The victim may still love the abuser; they just want the abuse to stop. (And the abuser may promise it’ll never happen again.) They may have limited financial resources and/or social supports to assist them with the expense and the logistics of starting over. They may be reluctant to create upheaval in their children’s lives. Victims may be afraid that the abuser will fight for sole custody of their children. Often, victims’ fears are based on direct threats made by the abuser. And victims might be afraid to leave because abuse can get much worse after a victim leaves, when the abuser realizes they are losing control. Abusers often stalk their victims post-separation. Many domestic homicides take place during or after a victim has left the relationship. -- opdv
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. Domestic violence is also called domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, or dating violence. It may include sexual assault. People most often people think of domestic violence as physical abuse, but that’s only part of the picture. Many victims are never physically or sexually assaulted but are controlled and terrorized by their partners’ use of non-physical tactics such as: verbal, emotional/psychological abuse; coercion and threats; isolation; minimizing, denying, blaming; using children; intimidation; and economic abuse. -- opdv
Abusers don’t announce their behavior at the start of a relationship; things would never progress beyond the first date! But there are some common traits shared by many abusers. They may be charming, jealous, controlling, and manipulative and they may blame others for their problems. They may rush into a relationship (“sweep you off your feet” or proclaim “love at first sight”) and insist that you spend all your time with them. These are “red flags,” but there are often no signs at all. -- opdv
Let the person know you’re there for them. Believe what they tell you, without blame or judgment. Ask them how you can help, being sure to keep your own safety in mind. Give them the phone number of the local domestic violence programs see our resources page
It is important to consider your own safety any time you are dealing with an abuser. One option is to call the police. Another is to talk to the abuser about your concerns. Make sure they know the consequences for being abusive, including being arrested, losing their partner and family, losing support from friends, losing their job or having their guns taken away.
There are many ways someone can help make a difference. Here are some suggestions: