Warning: This post contains descriptions of abuse and may be triggering to some.
At Holistic Ebony we focus on the whole health of women everywhere. October is domestic violence awareness month and we wanted to shed light on a few prevention and coping methods that you can use or share with others.
If you are currently experiencing domestic violence or if after reading this article you suspect that you may be in an unhealthy relationship, please call 1-800-799-SAFE at ANY TIME
Domestic violence can look like several things. It is not always physical or sexual violence between two people. Sometimes it’s financial, verbal, mental or reproductive. Here are some red flags to pay attention to:
- Someone says to you or someone else that you “can never do anything right”
- Your partner shows jealousy toward your friends and the time you spend away from each other or you are told not to spend time away
- You notice someone keeping your friend from you or you are discouraged from seeing friends or family members
- You notice they always try to embarrass or shame you or your friend with put-downs
- You notice every penny spent in the household is controlled by someone else
- You notice someone keeps taking yours or your friend’s money or refuses to give out money for expenses
- You notice weird looks as if to scare you or your friend
- Someone is controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- You aren’t allowed to make your own decisions
- You always hear threats of harm to your children or threats to take away the children
- They try to find ways to prevent you or your friend from working or attending school
- You notice that they destroyed yours or your friend’s property or threatened to hurt or kill your pets
- Scared you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Made you or your friend have sex when you didn’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
- Refusing to use a condom or other type of birth control
- Forcing you to not use any birth control (ex. the pill, condom, shot, ring, etc.)
- Forcing pregnancy and not supporting your decision about when or if you want to have a child
These are only a few examples, but the most common.
Most stories of victory and healing often begin with a persons support system stepping up to help their friend or loved one they notice is in an unhealthy/abusive relationship. I remember several instances, in high school and college, in which friends have been the most influential in helping friends recognize the signs and get help. If you have ANY FEELING that your loved one is in danger, here are some ways you can help:
- Remember that you can not rescue them. It is ultimately their decision to leave. Maintain support and encouragement to leave, but do not internalize or feel helpless if it takes many times before they are separated from the abuser.
- Be supportive and listen. Let them know this is not their fault And that you ARE there and WILL BE THERE for them.
- When the relationship is over, be supportive. Any break-up or ended relationship is hard. “No one could understand how love, hate, fear and comfort could coexist simultaneously. They could not understand that in addition to my abuser, I also lost my confidant, the person to make dinner with, the person to watch movies with on a rainy Sunday, the person to laugh with, the person who knew me. I lost my companion.” (“He never hit me”, Reut Amit)
- Help them develop a safety plan. Safety plans can be used at any stage: while in the relationship, preparing to leave, after leaving. For a guide, visit www.thehotline.org
- Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get a referral to one of these programs near you. Offer to go with them to meetings or appointments as you can and as often they wish.
Domestic violence touches all of us. It might not have happened to you, but you may know someone that has experienced it: a parent, friend, sibling, cousin, grandparent, child. Please don’t be afraid to get help and PLEASE don’t be afraid to help.
With love Ebbys,
Check out Part 2 with Khalilah Collins from The Center for Women and Families here.
Thank you to The National Domestic Violence Hotline for the tips and information. You can see more at www.thehotline.org
About SteVon Edwards
I believe that interest, trust, and empathy are essential to community organizing and I rely on those elements to build relationships in my work around community-level prevention initiatives in policy/program development. My focus here is to provide you with information that will help you to overcome barriers you have in achieving a GREAT quality of life. I want you to be able to move, dance, sing, play, crochet , enjoy whatever healthy hobby you have among family and friends with sound mind, body, and spirit! Twitter: