Monday, April 21, 2014

KASSELMAN: Recognizing signs of domestic violence

By AMBER KASSELMAN, Community Viewpoint | 10/11/2013

How do you know you’re in an abusive relationship? How do you know if someone you know is in an abusive relationship? The answer to those questions might not always be clear.

Becca Burns, director of volunteer services at the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, said people might have difficulty identifying abuse because of a lack of knowledge about domestic violence.

How do you know you’re in an abusive relationship? How do you know if someone you know is in an abusive relationship? The answer to those questions might not always be clear.

Becca Burns, director of volunteer services at the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, said people might have difficulty identifying abuse because of a lack of knowledge about domestic violence.

“People may not always spot an abuser or someone being abused because of common myths and stereotypes about what abusers or survivors look like, act like and the types of abuse,” Burns said.

Although identifying batterers and abuse isn’t always obvious, it’s a significant issue that can be noticed. A domestic violence incident occurred every 21 minutes and 48 seconds in 2011, and a domestic violence murder occurred every 13 days, according to Kansas Bureau of Investigation 2011 statistics. Yet, domestic violence still is one of the most underreported crimes, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. While not all batterers and those being battered behave the same, there are some red flags that might indicate domestic violence.

The following attributes might denote an abusive person in your relationship, according to New Hope for Women. Does your partner:

• Act jealous — questioning who you talk to or spend time with, accusing you of flirting, etc?

• Control you — dominating your personal decisions, like where you go, what you do, etc?

• Move too fast — pressuring you to commit or making you feel guilty for wanting to slow down/break up?

• Have unrealistic expectations — expecting you meet all of his or her needs?

• Isolate you — preventing you access to outside resources, such as friends, family, work, school, etc?

• Blame you/others — holding you or others responsible for his or her problems and feelings?

• Enforce gender roles — expecting and implementing rigid gender roles?

• Become hypersensitive — getting insulted easily?

• Act cruelly — abusing animals or children?

• Impose “playful” sex — restraining you, acting out fantasies where you’re helpless, initiating sex while you’re asleep, demanding sex, etc?

• Verbally abuse you — degrading, cursing, belittling you, etc?

• Exhibit a dual personality — acting like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

• Have a battering history — abusing others in the past?

• Make threats — threatening you physically?

• Break/strike objects — terrorizing you by destroying or throwing items, etc?

• Use force — verbally or physically using his or her power against you?

These signs might signify someone else is being abused, according to New Choices:

• Are there frequent bruises and injuries, which are typically excused?

• Are there recurrent absences or tardiness?

• Are there low self-esteem and powerlessness issues regarding the relationship?

• Are there accusations of cheating?

• Are there personality changes?

• Is there a fear of conflict?

• Is there an inability to identify and express feelings and wants?

• Is there regular self-blame?

Ren Morton, community advocacy work program facilitator at the Willow center, said it’s important to be aware of abusive behavior because we are all connected to each other and have a responsibility to create a safer world.

“Every form of abuse is an act of violence against another’s right to self-determine their own lives toward stability and safety,” Morton said.

Amber Kasselman is a contributor for the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, which serves Franklin County residents.

comments powered by Disqus