What you don’t know can kill you

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Posted 10/18/22

Here are the red flags, the indicators of abuse:

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

What you don’t know can kill you

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Here are the red flags, the indicators of abuse:

  • Jealousy—Of your time with family, children, friends,phone-pals co-workers 
  • Controlling behavior—of your time, the money, comings and goings, making decisions. Making persistent phone calls or texts. 
  • Isolation / stalking—cuts you off from, family, friends, shows up unexpectedly when you are out with friends, etc 
  • Blames others for his/her problems—no accountability; everything is your fault or someone else’s 
  • Hypersensitivity—easily upset by everyday-life situations that he blames on you 
  • Cruelty to children or animals—In the past or present. Teases, degrades or hurts them 
  • “Playful” use of force in sex—Pushes you down, insists you want it, won’t leave you alone when you say “NO.” 
  • Verbal abuse—degrades or humiliates you alone or in company, Calls you a cold, bad person. Won’t let you sleep; wakes you up screaming.
  • Gaslighting / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type personality—Fights, breaks things—usually yours—then calls or comes home like nothing happened 
  • Past history of battering—Has hit others before but says he or she had a “good reason.” 
  • Threats of violence—“I’ll break your neck, kill your pet, take the children.”
  • Intimidation / breaking objects—Throws things at or near you, beats on tables, breaks windows, breaks your stuff. 
  • Won’t let you leave—Uses force during arguments, holds you down or against a wall, pushes, shoves, slaps or kicks you. Given time, these behaviors can escalate to choking, stabbing or shooting.

Why don’t victims leave? 

Why do the victims remain in abusive relationships? Initially it might be naivete, denial, minimizing the situation or having an “I can fix it” attitude. 

When reality steps in, it can cause guilt, shame and self-doubt. 

The lack of personal support and money further hinders escape. The longer victims remain with the abuser, the reasons for remaining increase in numbers and severity. Self medication, mental illness, physical ailments, learned helplessness, PTSD and well-founded fear keep the victim with the abuser. 

The presence of children. Survivors ask themselves, “What would happen to the kids? Can I support them?”

Leaving the abuser is the most dangerous / deadly time for the abused. Abuse is about control. If you are leaving, the abuser is losing control. The mentality of the abuser is “If I can’t control you, nobody will.”

According to Stop Violence Against Women Domestic Violence—Law and Policy, “Research indicates that the most dangerous time for a battered woman is after she ends the relationship. In the United States, research indicates that women who leave their batterers are at 75 percent greater risk of being killed by their batterers than those who stay.” 

What can you do? Prepare! 

If you are in a domestic violence situation, there are ways to get out safely by preparing. This will take time. 

The stages of the abuse cycle are tension-rage-honeymoon-calm. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Should the red flags appear, and shock has worn off, begin preparations to leave. You will need planning, patience, timing, self-awareness, information. Seek advice from female advocates who specialize in domestic violence, and find out about the laws in your state. 

Orders of protection can backfire. They may enrage your abuser, causing an escalation of dangerous behaviors. 

Don’t poke the bear. Do not threaten to leave or call the police. First and foremost, quietly make two safety plans (in the event that one falls through). Collect and hide all pertinent information—birth certificates, bank accounts, school records, medical records documentation. 

Find one person you can trust with your plans. Have an inert alert catch phrase to inform that person you’re leaving, e.g. “I feel like baking.” 

Think hard about where you will go and how you will get there. You will need an extra phone, cash and a safe place to go. Think out of the box. Mom and Dad’s house and best friends are out of the question. 

The moment you leave, cut off ALL interaction with the abuser and family. Every attempt to get you back will come through your phone or family. No phone calls, texts, emails. Do not engage in family or friend discussions about why, what, where, when things happened. It’s futile and dangerous. Someone you love may inadvertently give away your plans or location. You don’t need to defend yourself. You need to save yourself. 

Leaving is extremely difficult. Take your time. Regardless of your plans, always follow your gut instincts. Think about divorce after you are safe, not before. It’s dangerous and a waste of money and time. Only you know when it’s the right time to leave. 

Don’t expect to feel safe after leaving. You will need time to heal. 

When possible, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more information at 800/799-7233 (SAFE).

C.A. Grant is a domestic violence survivor. She lives in the Town of Tusten, NY.

domestic violence, abuse, help, resources, awareness


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here