October brings to light that domestic violence against women and men is still prevalent. Regardless of race, ethnicity, social class, age, and/ or relationship status, domestic violence can happen to anyone. It can leave the person feeling scared, helpless, alone, vulnerable. He/ she may feel like leaving the relationship is not an option due to emotional and psychological control, financial limitations, lack of social support, or fear of social judgement. So how can you recognize if you, or someone you know is in an abusive relationship? According to the America Psychiatric Association, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
• Are you ever afraid of your partner?
• Has your partner ever actually hurt or threatened to hurt you physically or someone you care about?
• Does your partner ever force you to engage in sexual activities that make you uncomfortable?
• Do you constantly worry about your partner’s moods and change your behavior to deal with them?
• Does your partner try to control where you go, what you do and who you see?
• Does your partner constantly accuse you of having affairs?
• Have you stopped seeing family or friends to avoid your partner’s jealousy or anger?
• Does your partner control your finances?
• Does he/she threaten to kill him/herself if you leave?
• Does your partner claim his/her temper is out of control due to alcohol, drugs or because he/she had an abusive childhood?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is important to seek help immediately. Staying in an abusive relationship can result in many mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts/ tendencies as well as anger and aggression. Seeking treatment from a trained professional and obtaining appropriate resources and support can help with the healing process. Children who have also endured or experienced abuse may also need to receive counseling to help cope with the trauma and fear associated with abuse.
To learn more about recognizing the signs and symptoms of domestic abuse, as well as where to get help, please click here.