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Domestic Violence = Domestic Abuse

by Samantha De Bono

The title 'Domestic Violence' makes us think of black eyes, split lips and hidden bruises, however, 'Domestic Abuse' is a far more apt title for what goes on behind closed doors in an abusive relationship.

There is no escaping that " On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner." and that "one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute" ( ). My heart aches at the thought that there are women at this very moment, suffering at the hands of a violent partner.

But what about those that aren't suffering from actual physical violence? I have heard women say "oh he doesn't hit me, he just gets upset if I say I want to get a job, or study for a future career" or "he makes anyone feel uncomfortable when they come over to the house, so nobody bothers anymore" or "he shouts and hits the door or a table, but he doesn't hit me", "we don't go out together because I've put on a lot of weight and he says I don't look good anymore" or "I always embarrass him because I don't know what to talk about with other people". All these hurtful words are a tactic to break down self esteem and confidence. The more insecure the woman feels, the more in control he becomes.

All the emotional and psychological pain that an abusive partner puts you through, is why I don't like the term 'domestic violence' because 'domestic Abuse' covers all aspects of the suffering the victim is going through.

Some clients have even said that a black eye eventually fades, but the scares they leave emotionally and mentally are the hardest to overcome.

Then there is the question "How likely is verbal, emotional and psychological abuse to turn into violence?"

Lundy Bancroft, author of "Why Does He Do That?" says "Research indicates that a woman's intuitive sense of whether or not her partner will be violent toward her is a substantially more accurate predictor of future violence than any other warning sign".

So please trust your instincts!

Lundy Bancroft suggests looking at the following warning signs:

Has he ever trapped you in a room and not let you out?
Has he ever raised a fist or hand as if he were going to hit you?
Has he ever, in anger, thrown an object that hit you or nearly did?
Has he ever held you down or grabbed you to restrain you?
Has he ever shoved, poked, or grabbed you?
Has he ever threatened to hurt you?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we can stop wondering whether he'll ever be violent; he already has been.