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no-excuse

Ray Rice, the NFL, and What We Know About Domestic Violence

no-excuseThe recent events and media coverage surrounding Ray Rice and the NFL have created a powerful swell of conversation about domestic violence. Many people are speaking outsharing personal stories, and calling for less victim-blaming and more accountability for abusers and their public enablers. While we are outraged by the stories we hear daily at the Hotline, we are heartened by the support of so many people who recognize that there is no excuse for abuse.

Often, a lack of understanding about the dynamics of abuse leads to misguided comments and notions about why victims stay with their abusive partners, or how domestic violence isn’t that pervasive of an issue (because it’s so often hidden from the public). At the Hotline, there are a few things we know for sure about domestic violence:

Domestic violence happens everyday, in every community. Studies show that domestic violence affects roughly 12 million people in the United States. However, abuse is often not reported, in many cases due to a victim’s fear or not knowing where to turn. Maybe you know someone – a friend, a family member, a coworker – who is experiencing abuse at home with their partner. Maybe you’re experiencing it yourself. Whatever the case, please know that help is out there.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religion.

Domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse. The media tends to focus on physical abuse, but domestic violence includes emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or financial abuse.

Domestic violence is complex. Each person’s situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to domestic violence. There are many reasons victims stay in abusive relationships. What they need – what they deserve – are resources and support to help them find their own paths to safety.

Domestic violence is not the victim’s fault. The choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner.

We believe that ALL people deserve to feel safe and respected in their relationships. If you or someone you know needs help, we are here to support you. Contacts to the Hotline are anonymous and confidential. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or chat here on our website Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CT.

$20 covers the total cost of one phone call to the Hotline, and one phone call can be life-changing. If you would like to show your support for domestic violence victims and survivors with a donation, please fill out our secure online donation form. Thank you!

am I hurting my partner

Ask Yourself, “Am I Hurting My Partner?”

Even the best of relationships have their ups and downs. You hate it when your boyfriend leaves dirty dishes in the sink… for the third night in a row. Your wife keeps scheduling all the holiday visits with her in-laws and you just wanted to see your family this Christmas. You can’t pry your husband away from the football game even when you had plans to go out.

In any relationship there are arguments both big and small that can cause hurt feelings. What distinguishes the arguments in a healthy relationship from those in an unhealthy relationship is how they’re handled, how each partner responds to them and how both partners communicate about them.

Have you ever thought that you may be behaving in a way that could be physically or mentally harmful to your partner? These behaviors are often difficult to recognize if you’re the one doing them — but acknowledging that you may be hurting your partner is the first step in moving toward a healthier relationship.

Check in with yourself: How do you act toward your partner?

Do you…

  • Get angry or insecure about your partner’s relationships with others (friends, family, coworkers) and feel possessive?
  • Frequently call and text to check up on your partner, or have them check in with you?
  • Check up on your partner in different ways? (Ex. Reading their personal emails, checking their texts)
  • Feel like your partner needs to ask your permission to go out, get a job, go to school or spend time with others?
  • Get angry when your partner doesn’t act the way you want them to or do what you want them to?
  • Blame your anger on drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s actions?
  • Find it very difficult to control your anger and calm down?
  • Express your anger by threatening to hurt your partner, or actually physically doing so?
  • Express your anger verbally through raising your voice, name calling or using put-downs?
  • Forbid your partner from spending money, or require that they have an allowance and keep receipts of their spending?
  • Force or attempt to force your partner to be intimate with you?
  • Blow up in anger at small incidents or “mistakes” your partner makes?

How does your partner react?

Do they…

  • Seem nervous around you?
  • Seem afraid of you?
  • Cringe or move away from you when you’re angry?
  • Cry because of something you don’t let them do, or something you made them do?
  • Seem scared or unable to contradict you or speak up about something?
  • Restrict their own interaction with friends, coworkers or family in order to avoid displeasing you?

If any of these behaviors sound familiar to how you act or how your partner reacts, it could be a red flag that you may be hurting them. This can be a difficult and unnerving realization to come to.

So — what now? At the hotline we take calls from everyone, from concerned friends and family, to those questioning unhealthy behaviors in their relationship (whether they’re on the giving or receiving end of the actions). Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to confidentially talk to one of our advocates. We’ll discuss these behaviors with you, learn about what’s going on and take it from there.

By acknowledging now that your behaviors might be questionable and taking responsibility for them, you’re a step ahead in beginning to correct them.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Domestic Violence Examined on Dr. Phil

Yesterday on a Dr. Phil episode entitled Crossing the Line, Dr. Phil counseled two couples experiencing verbal and emotional abuse in their marriages.  Often when domestic violence is discussed, it’s assumed that physical violence is involved.  This episode serves as a moving reminder that abuse can take many forms — emotional, verbal, sexual, economic, psychological, spiritual and physical.

The men on this show believed that they were not committing domestic violence because they were not inflicting physical pain on their wives. Although there are no visible scars when domestic violence is non-physical, other forms of abuse still cause long-lasting damage and pain.

Abuse is never acceptable.  Review the signs of abuse and please call The Hotline if you have questions or concerns.  We are here to help.

Please call The Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY).

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Did MSNBC Miss an Opportunity to Educate the U.S. on Domestic Violence?

digitaljournal.com by Nikki W, July 31, 2008

Recently, Christian Bale was in the news for a domestic violence incident. A bit run on the Today Show sparked some discussion by the National Domestic Violence Helpline over concerns that the aired story was not balanced. Did MSNBC miss an opportunity?
Domestic violence is an epidemic that continues to spread across the globe. In the United States alone, statistics show that “1 in 5” adults admit to being a victim of domestic violence where “6 out of 10” adults say they know someone who has been a victim. Although the difference between the two is huge, at 40 per cent more people knowing victims than those who actually admit to being victims, it is a problem that clearly needs national and global attention.
A recent story about actor, Christian Bale, who was reportedly charged with verbal assault after losing his temper with his mother in a London hotel room just prior to the premier of his movie The Dark Knight has set into motion some very important information regarding domestic violence.
As in the alleged case of Bale, those who have a temper can create quite a problem for the loved ones around them. In a FOX News story from last week, Bale was said to have been defending his wife’s honour to his mother and apparently lost it:

“Christian’s attitude is that this was his mother’s fault because she became very provocative in an argument they were having, the source said. “Things got out of control and he now says he wishes he just left the room. Christian was stressed, but he didn’t lay a finger on anyone. Instead, he flew off the handle and cussed his mother. He just got very loud because his mother was saying some very outrageous things about him, and his wife.

“He has stresses in his marriage,” the source [also] said. “He can have a terrible temper. Instead of lashing out at his wife, he sometimes lashes out at people around him.”

Then again on July 22nd, MSNBC’s the Today Show ran a spot on the incident. However, the televised clip appeared to be more about diverting any possibility of abuse and focused on minimizing the verbal abuse accusation. There was even a clip from a fan stating that this was likely just parental jealousy!

Domestic violence doesn’t know jealousy in that manner. It doesn’t know socioeconomic status or educational backgrounds. It isn’t only bruises or choking. It is the projecting of one’s temper onto another individual, blaming someone else for their violent outburst. And Domestic Violence isn’t just a private matter. It is the responsibility of those around to shed light on its ugliness. With “2.6 Million” injuries and 1,200 deaths every year in the United States due to this preventable problem, when a news story has an opportunity to educate the nation on the basic information associated with domestic violence and does not, isn’t is a missed opportunity to help in its prevention?

Watch the video clip and decide if a balanced representation was given. Decide on your own. If you want, let them know how you feel by emailing them at today@nbc.com.

What is Domestic Violence? Here are a few warning signs:

Does your partner ever:

Embarrass you with put-downs?

Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?

Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?

Make all of the decisions?

Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?

Prevent you from working or attending school?

Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?

Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?

Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?

Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?

Force you to try and drop charges?

Threaten to commit suicide?

Threaten to kill you?

Then you could be in a violent relationship.

Verbal abuse can indicate domestic violence as well. Not all verbally abusive relationships are physically abusive but it isn’t uncommon for the verbally abusive relationship to escalate to one that becomes physically abusive. Sometimes this takes a few years, maybe 5 to 7 years for the verbal abuse to become the punch leaving a giant hole in the wall or the smashing of the lamp. Then its the slap and the excuse that it was the victim’s fault: “if you just hadn’t said that…”. Then the punch, the beatings and eventually, the burial. In the book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans lists the characteristics of a verbally abusive relationship to include a pattern of:

Withholding intimacy
Judging
Trivializing a partner’s actions or feelings
Name calling
Accusing
Mean comments disguised as jokes

Right now, there is a campaign sweeping the nation that is hoping to make connections where some fail the victims of domestic violence. The Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America is absolutely free and allows those who join to use their own resources and power to spread the word that domestic violence is intolerable.

When others drop the ball, pick it up and share the news that domestic violence isn’t just beating someone with punches. It is the exertion of power and control, a pattern of abusive behaviour that for many proves fatal even when they try to get away. Together, we are one giant voice against the big bad monster.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

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