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Diagnosing Violence: Red Flags of an Abusive Relationship

By Hannah Cutts
 
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in my last two articles, I tried to provide some very small insight into the scope of this issue and its impact on women and communities. However, statistics and definitions only go so far in helping to identify what is truly a dangerous situation or unhealthy relationship. This article will list some of the signs of an abusive relationship. If you or someone you know has experienced any of these feelings, take action! You have options and several different ways to get help. It is never a woman’s fault if she is being abused, whether physically or emotionally. Even if you are in a committed relationship you can still be a victim of sexual assault, and even if you are a smart, confident, empowered woman, you can still find yourself in unhealthy circumstances.

Unfortunately, abusive relationships are not always easy to identify, as abusers use coercion, manipulation and lies to cover their injurious words and deeds. Familiarizing yourself with symptoms of a dangerous situation can help prevent the horrifying physical and emotional consequences of domestic violence.

1. According to www.helpguide.org, the most telling sign that you are in an abusive relationship is a fear of your partner. If you are constantly worried about disappointing, of “doing something wrong”, of making a partner angry, or of bringing up a topic that will lead to an argument, among other things, this may be an indication that something is seriously amiss in your relationship. You have the right to feel safe and confident in your own home.

2. An abusive partner often belittles the victim, whether by humiliating or criticizing her, ignoring accomplishments and opinions, blaming the victim for abusive behavior or treating him/her as an object. If your partner makes you feel embarrassed for the way you think, feel or behave on a regular basis, this may be an indication that your relationship has elements of abuse. You have the right to believe, speak and act in the way you choose, without being embarrassed.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

you know, this is a good article. however it's not always the women who's being abused. I'm very upset that this article did not take into the fact that many men also live in an abusive relationship, I am one of those men. Get rid of the biased side of the article and it'd be perfect. You really should have named this site just plain old EMPOWER for everyone instead of trying to be hip, trendy or clever or siding with a gender.

April 26, 2011 - 7:20am
Hannah Cutts (reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you so much for your comment - you are absolutely right. This article focuses only on women who are in abusive or unhealthy relationships. There are many, MANY men and transgender people who also experience domestic violence and sexual assault, and it takes brave people like you to remind our very gender normative society that this is true.

I hope you are getting the support that you need to feel safe. Please let me know if I can be a resource for anything, or provide you with any information.

Very best,
Hannah

April 26, 2011 - 12:00pm
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