Once again, the "holiday season" is upon us and abusers have available countless opportunities and excuses to perpetrate more frequent and severe episodes of domestic violence and abuse against their victims. Domestic violence/abuse includes: emotional violence, verbal violence, physical violence, religious/spiritual abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Domestic violence and abuse has no cultural, religious, sexua| orientation, ethnic, or economic boundaries. There is no stereotype or profile for domestic violence to exist, and it covers every "intimate" relationship, including platonic and familial associations.
During the holiday season, it is a statistical fact that reports of domestic violence and the severity of the episodes make a dramatic spike. The reason is simple: there are ample excuses for the abuser to experience "stress," and therefore more ample opportunities to blame victims for increasing stress in one way or another, especially in our current economic climate. Of course, the victims have nothing to do with the perpetration of violence by their abusers - they don't "ask for it," or stretch the limits of stress to cause their abusers to harm them. They are just there, for whatever reason.
If children are involved, the violence often becomes even more extreme with a reported 90% of all domestic violence being perpetrated IN FRONT OF CHILDREN. Often, the victim is threatened with "No Presents" for children unless the victim agrees OR submits to (fill in the blank). The victim is frightened of being abused, certainly, but they are even more frightened of the threats that may be seen through by the abuser. In my previous life, the abuser did, indeed, follow through with threats and the children were denied gifts during the holiday, special holiday meals, participation in religious/spiritual rituals, and many, many other witholdings. Keep in mind this statistical fact: children who are raised in an environment of domestic violence and abuse are 10 times more likely to develop into abusers or victims, themselves. If they develop into abusers, their level of abuse will be greater than their predecessor's.
How to know if you (or, someone you know) is involved in an abusive relationship? The first thing to do is to open your eyes and put on your "listening ears." From the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, www.ndvh.org, a general list of potential violence/abuse is provided:
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.
Does not want you to work.
Controls finances or refuses to share money.
Punishes you by withholding affection.
Expects you to ask permission.
Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
Humiliates you in any way.
You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:
Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving.
Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Hurt your children.
Used physical force in sexua| situations.
You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:
Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Wants you to dress in a sexua| way.
Insults you in sexua| ways or calls you sexua| names.
Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexua| acts.
Held you down during sex.
Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you.
Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.
Involved other people in sexua| activities with you.
Ignored your feelings regarding sex.
I got out. I lost many, many things, including my own children. You, on the other hand, might be able to fare better than I did if you go through the proper channels. NOTHING is worth remaining - "Things" can be replaced, but there is no monetary equivalent to human life or well-being.
My most sincere positive energies and brightest blessings to all who are afraid, suffering, and desperate. End the cycle and contact: .National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224