When something is abused, it means that it is being misused or treated poorly. A good example is this: an old pickup truck. An old pickup truck that is driven every day, all day, but never inspected for damages, and it’s never been washed could be considered abuse. Because someone has not taken care of their property, it is being abused. What about if people are abused? What if they are treated poorly and misused? Any person can experience abuse. Your elders, spouses, children, friends, etc. Everyone must learn the signs of domestic abuse to get the help they need.
What is Domestic Abuse?
By understanding that abuse is defined by misusing something and treating something poorly, you can see the connection to domestic abuse. According to the United Nations,
“Domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence”, can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”
Domestic violence or domestic abuse is the act of one person attempting to control the other partner. Domestic abusers may use several ways to gain control over another. They may elicit physical pain, physical assault, sexual assault, manipulation, intimidation, isolation, or economic threat.
Many abusers will use any or all methods of abuse to achieve their goal of power and control.
Examples of Domestic Abuse
There are various acts and examples of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can be against any person of any race, age, gender, etc.
A partner that tries to humiliate you by calling you names and purposely ruining your outing with friends may be a domestic abuser.
Someone who has forced you to go somewhere against your will or forced you into isolation may also be a domestic abuser.
If you have a partner that has threatened to kill you, themselves, or someone you love, is more than likely an abuser.
Have you ever been forced to have sexual intercourse, eat or drink something undesirable, or forced to participate in substance use? If you have, the enforcer is probably an abuser.
If a partner has ever purposely hurt you or acted violently towards you, they are a domestic abuser, and you should seek support immediately.
How to Seek Help For Yourself or Other Victims
The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests to victims of domestic abuse to create a safety plan. A safety plan will allow you to prepare to seek shelter and solace outside of your abusive relationship. For example, creating a checklist or bag with all of your essentials. If your partner becomes abusive, you will not have to pack.
Another part of a safety plan is deciding on a safe, public place to go. Some places may be a police station, restaurant, or gym; as long as it is somewhere where you are not alone.
A vital part of a safety plan is letting someone know that you are making a plan and you are in an abusive relationship. Letting a family member, police officer, or domestic abuse counselor know of your current situation is vital to seeking help.
How Can We Work Together to End Domestic Abuse
No one should have to experience a relationship with abuse and violence. To end domestic abuse for all couples, you can offer your support and additional resources to those that need it. If you suspect a friend is a victim of domestic abuse, express your concern and find them the resources they need.
Most importantly, people in immediate danger will need you to take action. Calling an emergency number to save those you love is crucial. Lastly, we should all work together to bring awareness to domestic abuse. By bringing awareness to this dire situation, we can create more resources and encourage others to speak out.
If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic abuse, do not hesitate to call for help from first responders or contact domestic violence support.