Article by: Stella Georgian
Art by: CJ Calandy
October is domestic violence awareness month. Spreading awareness of the reality of abuse is an integral and positive way to ending domestic violence.
We get to move on. Most of us, only watch abuse through our phones, we only hear the stories...never felt them. But, these headlines, are people. These statistics are people, these stories were once experiences, and these abusers were once part of a family. In our world, it’s sometimes difficult to actually put perspective on the reality of domestic abuse. The need for awareness because of the growing, impactful epidemic that is domestic violence, is immensely devastating.
We should always remember the victims of abuse, not only this month, or every time a new story with an eye-catching headline rolls around.
They say knowledge is power. Most of us either know the numbers, ignore the numbers, or are the numbers. Victims of abuse, are often misunderstood, forgotten, and ignored by the media and those in close relations to them.
Luckily, identifying abuse patterns is at least a little easier because of the common red flags. Most abusers’ minds work the same. They thrive on isolation of the victim, put the victim down through verbal abuse, and finally, physical trauma.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence lists some red flags as warning signs to follow and determine whether your partner is an abuser. These include: them wanting to move too fast, appearing “too good to be true” in the beginning stages of a relationship, insists that you stop spending time with family or friends, makes you quit activities such as school or your job, is excessively jealous and claims you’re unfaithful, criticizes and puts you down verbally, rages out of control with you but can maintain composure around others, and many more.
Although too many women endure abusive relationships in their lives, many of us do not know what that is like. But that doesn’t stop many from judging those women’s choices. That doesn’t stop many from creating demeaning and intrusive accusations. We don’t know enough and yet, we say too much. Women who do not leave abusive relationships, often cannot. Going back to the red-flags and patterns of an abuser, we know, that the partner inflicting this trauma, often isolates them, making it almost impossible to get out; it makes it harder to sustain or get a job, make new friends, and connect to family and get the help they need.
The answer to the damaging rhetoric, “Why don’t they leave their partner?” consist of complex reasons. Often, the victim grows to be dependent on their abuser. For either income, housing, or especially in LGBT+ relationships, protection. This partner often plans and causes their victim to be trapped with them and that is what makes them so toxic. Abuse thrives with violence, but it’s often related to control. Domestic violence abusers vitalize fear within their partner, with weapons and beating, so they cannot leave. This makes it close to impossible for these victims to cut ties and move on, and not understanding this, makes it even worse for them.
Because of the intense stigma of getting the help a victim needs, this makes it even more difficult for LGBT+ victims of abuse. Domestic violence within same sex relationships, especially closeted, the victims will not be able to receive the support and help they need to terminate the relationship. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, statistically, abuse is not the way we always expect to see it. The research found that 61.1% of bisexual women, 43.8% of lesbians, and 35% of heterosexual women, will endure domestic violence in their life. In contrast, 26% of gay men, 37.3% of bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual men, will face the same. Straight women abused by men is a common situation, but unfortunately, not the only form abuse may take. LGBT+ victims and men being abused by women, is all too real of an issue, and often ignored.
This is not the only month we should all stay aware or speak of domestic violence.
If you or someone you think is in an abusive relationship need help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, can be found here:://www.thehotlihttpne.org