Women will read this article and say, “But that’s not me.” Women will see this article and say, “I don’t want to know.” Hopefully, at least one woman will read this article and say, “This is me and I need to get out.”
Myth 1: If it is not physical (hitting, pushing, slapping) then it is not violence.
Recent studies have shown emotional abuse has longer – lasting effects than physical abuse. A bruise heals, but damaged self-esteem takes much longer to heal.
Myth 2: Do not talk about it to anyone.
Talking about the abuse is the first step to healing. Confide in a friend, a family member, clergy, teacher – anyone you trust. Then begin to step out: write an anonymous column for an online blog or volunteer with an organization that educates on domestic violence.
Myth 3: I am the only one I know who is going through this.
50% of women in the U.S. will be in abusive relationship in their lifetime. 25% of these women will move to cohabitate with their abuser. Housewives in Shelbyville, lesbian, straight, Hispanic, Baptist, career women in Hendersonville, doctors, judges, police officers, teachers, girls at TSU, government officials – it does not matter who you are or what you do for a living, your educational level or status. All women can be that 50%.
Myth 4: I can do nothing about it.
There are multiple organizations assisting women who are in violent relationships, from counseling services to assisting you in creating escape plans. For one such organization, see below.
Myth 5: No one else will love me.
An abuser does not love the victim. Abuse is about power and control and exerting both due to low self-esteem, the need to dominate, and the desire to harm. A true partner will lift you up in spirit, be by your side during all times, and wish the best for you. This loyalty does not come with a price and should be constant.
Answer these statements with a “Yes” or “No.”
- At times I feel like I must be careful so not to upset my partner due to their mood.
- If I break up with my partner, I will not feel physically safe.
- My partner makes fun of my ideas, goals, and dreams, or puts them down, or says they are impossible.
- I stay with my partner mostly because I am scared (of being alone, of the partner).
- I / my partner grew up in a home where abuse happened. I/they never sought help with that issue.
If you answered at least two of the 5 with “Yes” you are in a potentially abusive relationship. Please get help now!
Credit: photo of J. Yates