The world focuses on October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But did you know it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
You might not know that unless you have paid attention to the news lately. Domestic violence is becoming more and more well known in the news, especially with the NFL players getting into trouble for beating their significant others/wives and children.
It’s a horrible thing watching Ray Rice beat his girlfriend in the elevator and dragging her off of it. It’s even more horrible hearing about people doing things to defenseless children.
That makes me sick. What about you?
Domestic violence hits close to home for me. It is the subject of my fictional books, Be Strong and Pinky Swear. I wrote those books hoping to open the eyes of, at least, women. If I help one woman, I have succeeded.
What can we do, though, to end domestic violence? Educate ourselves and help victims as needed.
What is domestic violence?
Did you know that domestic violence is not about physical abuse? Yes, that’s right. It includes other abuses, like emotional, verbal, sexual, and now digital abuse.
Domestic violence comes in several forms. You don’t always see visible signs of abuse, though. That is the hard part.
- Physical abuse is usually the only form of abuse that is easily visible. You can see the marks left behind by the abuser. These marks can be from slapping, hitting, grabbing, and pushing among other ways that an abuser can hurt the victim physically.
- Emotional abuse, which is what my books focus on, is the breaking down of a person’s self-esteem and often is considered verbal abuse. However, emotional abuse goes beyond verbal abuse. Emotional abuse includes silent treatment, belittlement, domination, and influence over the victim.
- Verbal abuse is simply abuse with words. The abuser constantly uses words to demean, intimidate, threaten, and insult the victim.
- Sexual abuse is the abuser forcing or pressuring the victim to have sex – even if they are married. It could be unwanted kissing or touching. The abuser could refuse to use protection or refuse the victim to have birth control.
- With technology becoming what it has, digital abuse now exists. The abuser will use social media to keep tabs on the victim or tells the victim who she can be friends with on social media. The abuser texts the victim constantly and makes her feel that she can’t be away from her phone. The abuser insists upon having your passwords.
I use the victim as a “she” throughout the brief descriptions, but sometimes this is reversed. Usually, though, the abuser is male, and the victim is female.
Ending domestic violence
I have given you these brief descriptions about the types of abuse. There are other types I have not mentioned, like elder abuse. But these are the most prevalent ones.
These descriptions give you a good idea as to what each type is. Educate yourself by researching further the types of abuse. Read books about the subject as well.
While researching, learn the signs of abuse. Physical abuse is easy to detect, as I have already mentioned. However, the other types are not.
General signs include depression, constant checking in with partner, discussion of partner’s jealousy, possessiveness, and/or anger, isolation from friends and family, and low self-esteem. Again, research for more signs.
While you can’t singlehandedly end domestic violence, you can help a victim, possibly someone you even know, get out of the abusive situation and get free from the abuser.
If more people learn about abuse and could help even just one person break free, domestic violence would eventually end.
Or, if you are the victim, educate yourself by researching the types and signs of abuse, as I have mentioned above. In addition to that, research how to get help, how to protect yourself and your children if you have them, and how to plan to get away when you are ready.
When I said earlier that domestic violence hits close to home, I meant it.
I was emotionally abused for several years. I won’t mention any names nor will I give details.
I haven’t said much in public – only to those closest to me. With this so prevalent in the news, it’s time the victims speak up – although I don’t consider myself a victim anymore. I am a survivor.
I wrote my fictional books in the hopes I would open the eyes of women who suffer from emotional abuse. Even if I touch one person, I have succeeded in my goal. I certainly hope I have touched more than just one person, though.
My hope is that someday all domestic violence victims will be survivors, and domestic violence will be in the distant past.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you written a book about this? Would you help your best friend if she was being abused?