Warning– this article uses graphic personal experiences of domestic violence and may trigger those who have suffered these abuses.I am not a mental health expert and my goal in writing this is not to assume expertise on the issue but to inform on it. Thank you and have a blessed day.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship, (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse). TheHotline.Org
Types of domestic violence
Domestic violence is often associated with physical abuse. However, various other forms of domestic abuse include psychological, mental, verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial. Usually, I don’t use the phrase domestic violence for describing the abuse I’ve endured in past
Mostly, because it’s a legal definition that became part of my vocabulary at court.When I was filing for a restraining order against the man who threatened to kill me. But let’s back that story up and start at the beginning. There are warning signs.
What are the signs of domestic violence
Honestly, while the abuse is the same– the signs look different for victims in all stages. As a child, your concept of right and wrong is distorted by what your parents do and how they behave. Unfortunately, my childhood influenced some signs of domestic violence to become accepted as normal behaviors exhibited in relationships.
Signs of domestic violence.
● Throwing Things at Each Other
● Screaming Obscenities
● Cursing Each Other to Hell
● Punching Walls/Doors
● Blaming Each Other for Abuse
● Accusing Each Other of Affairs
● Threatening Words
● Destroying Property
● Drug/Alcohol Abuse
I never witnessed my father hit his second wife, but she slapped, punched, and bit him on multiple occasions with zero regards to her audience. Growing up in a household of screaming matches that resulted in shoes being thrown through closet doors was my normal.
I don’t think people who’ve not experienced this environment can fully appreciate how this abusive cycle
starts and repeats. But it’s provided me with the experiences I’m sharing and I hope someone will learn from my ignorance.
Domestic violence in high school.
In high school, my boyfriend would pinch my legs under the table when he wanted me to shut my fucking mouth. Usually, because I was embarrassing him or being too flirty like a whore. Because I jumped and yelped at this abuse, (drawing attention to it) he began digging his
balled-up-fist of knuckles into my thighs instead.
On our walk to school one day, we were arguing, like we always did. He was screaming, belittling, and calling me names. Another sign of a domestically abusive relationship. He barely
shoved me and I tripped and fell over a curb. My knees landed hard on the concrete and I began to cry.
I had been blindsided and it frightened me. Immediately, he began apologizing
profusely, I’m so sorry baby. You know I wouldn’t hurt you on purpose. Get up, baby! Please get up! During his begging, the tone in his voice changed. Intense desperation accompanied his pleas
and suddenly I realized– somebody called the police.
As the officer’s vehicle approached his
tone changed again. This time to a threatening urgency. His concern was not about the fact he had assaulted me, he was panicked about his own wellbeing. That was the first time I lied for my abuser and it was to the police. I was 16-years-old and had no idea that telling the officer I
had tripped was paving the way for a domestically violent future. And there were so many signs.
Signs of domestic violence in high school
While these signs of domestic violence are not limited to high school, I’ve outlined them here because they’re common beginning signs. And because I’m writing this based on my own
understanding and experiences.
Are you being told what you can and cannot wear by your partner? Are there restrictions based on outfits being too, fill in the blank with an insulting word?
Controlling what you eat
Is there a list of foods you are allowed and in turn, not allowed to eat? Maybe it isn’t anything as dramatic as a list, but do they inform your decisions on what food goes into your body?
Controlling your social life
Does your partner control who you are allowed to be friends with? Including who you’re allowed to follow, like, or comment on posts, concerning social media? Does your partner control your posts? Do they demand access to your accounts? Are you not allowed to have social media?
Have you cut people out of your life, or at the very least become distant from them because your partner insisted so?
Controlling your phone
Late night phone calls that result in falling asleep together on the phone start off cute and innocent. But have they progressed into something more? Does your partner demand that you stay on the phone with them? If you don’t answer on the first ring are you in trouble? If you don’t
text back immediately, do they begin blowing up your phone frantically with texts and phone calls?
Does your partner criticize you in every area of your life? Your clothing, meal choices, passions, dreams, family, friends, and performance? Do they put down your appearance, weight, and intentionally point out your insecurities. Are they taunting and verbally abusing you with them?
Embarrassed you intentionally
Are you becoming more isolated by your partner continuously embarrassing you publicly? Do they intentionally degrade, shame, humiliate, and make you not want to be around other people
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? You’re in a controlling relationship demonstrating classic signs of abuse. It will get worse if you don’t make better choices and escape from it now.
Keep reading to discover where ignoring these signs might lead you. But first, let’s talk about the statistics of domestic abuse in high school.
Domestic abuse statistics
Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. One in three girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Domestic violence in adulthood
It wasn’t until we were adults and living together that I remember my high school boyfriend physically hitting me. The pinching underneath the table and verbal threats that accompanied them escalated into a more sinister beast. Hair pulling, spitting, slapping, and punching, but he
never hit me in my face, so I excused the abuse.
Eventually, he threatened me with a 9mm gun. Warning that if I were to come out of the bedroom he would kill me. Quietly, I packed a bag and tucked it under the bed. I had texted my friend and she waited, patiently (and anxiously) parked up the road.
With my ear pressed to the door, I listened intently for any sound of movement. He stood post at the bottom of the stairs.
My heart was pounding and I feared after another beer, he might make good on his threat. We lived in an old duplex with thin walls and I could hear his footsteps once he entered the kitchen.
The moment he closed the downstairs bathroom door, I grabbed my bag. My heart still thumping and my mind fully racing, I swung open my bedroom door and ran as fast as I could down the stairs. Upon fleeing, I left the front door wide open and began frantically screaming as
my friend raced to meet me quicker at the end of the long driveway. That was seventeen years ago for me and reliving it still creates hysteria. But it didn’t end there.
Domestic violence examples
What happened next in my dating life was an unfortunate demonstration of domestic violence relationships that I’ll share with you below. The names are fictional but the stories are my truth.
A man I thought I loved and who professed every minute of our relationship that he loved me. During our relationship, Jeremiah accused me of cheating all of the time and used that jealousy to demand access to my phone. He searched through it constantly and despite never finding
evidence of anything, he twisted friendships into being more.
He forbid me to have relationships with any other men. Verbally, he assaulted me with names like whore, hoe, and skank. When I cried, as a result, he would mock my tears. Breaking into fake whimpering sounds while vocalizing an insulting boo-hoo. By the way, Jeremiah was the
one who was cheating. And he was projecting his guilt onto me!
But he never hit me. I expected
domestic violence involved hitting. But it doesn’t.
Craig was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was able to manipulate all of my friends into believing that he was, one of the good guys. And he lived up to that role. Spoiling me with extravagant dinners and cuddling me during at-home nights on his couch. He owned his own business, home, and he made himself available for my needs.
Despite using birth control, I ended up
pregnant. When I informed Craig he wasn’t happy. His eyes went dark. He insisted on a walk around his property, educating me of its size and acreage. His expressed– if you don’t kill it, I’ve got a nice,
large, piece of land and they will never find your body. I had the abortion and when I came outside of the clinic, (my girlfriend holding my hand) he was parked across the street in his big Ford pickup truck.
Making damn sure that I was, killing it. Wearing sunglasses and a smile I will
never forget. I never saw or heard from that coward again. But I live with being the bigger coward. And again, he never hit me.
Lastly, there was Aaron. His verbal assaults and emotional abuse were on another level of evil. He attacked me in such personal ways, I won’t share them with you today. But his favorite game was finding my insecurities and then elaborating on them with vicious words and sneering laughter.
He was vulgar and forced drugs and alcohol on me. When I got pregnant, he was excited, at first. But then on one of his drinking binges, he threatened to kill our baby by punching me in the stomach. He began harassing me at the restaurant I worked at. Calling my job on a constant
redial and hanging up on anyone else who answered.
On one such call, he threatened that there was a girl outside waiting to kick my ass and terminate the pregnancy. She was really standing outside the window of the restaurant. I had to call the police on her. Eventually, he got physical with me (while pregnant) and I filed a restraining order on him. It didn’t detour him from violating it over two dozen times.
Because of overpopulation in the jail,
they allowed him to serve his sentences concurrently instead of consecutively and he did 60 days after six months of continuous harassment. Showing up at my home, pounding on my doors, and threatening my life, at all hours of the night. It was a nightmare that influenced me from dating anyone else for several years.
These stories are terrible and embarrassing for me to share. Fear of judgment has silenced me from speaking up until now. I’ve done enough judging of myself, I don’t need you to make me
cry too. But I hope someone will take something away from this and avoid themselves the abuse.
Hey you, listen! Don’t make excuses for abuses. And acknowledge that domestic violence is much more than being physical. Being hit is not the definition of domestic violence. It is so much more. Abuse is
never okay and no-one is deserving of it. If you are in a relationship demonstrating any of these signs, I urge you to get help getting out now.
By the grace of God, I have an amazing husband who is the polar opposite to any of the filth of my former dating self. Don’t settle for less. If they’re hurting you they aren’t the one. That isn’t loving, it’s abuse.
About the blogger:
Hi! I’m Lizzy. Thanks for reading. Follow me at Crazygirlblogger.com for my personal insight and experiences with mental health, addiction, and Scientology.