‘Pain exploded in my head, the blow made me see stars in every color, it vibrated through my body, forcing me to curl up in a fetal position where I had fallen, on the cold tiled floor in our kitchen. Tonight, our fight had been worse than any of the previous ones my boyfriend and I had, over the years since we had been together.
He had moved from being verbally and emotionally abusive, in the three years we had been in a relationship, to him throwing me across the room, slapping, kicking, and punching me, whenever he felt I needed to be put in my place. This was after he promised me, he would change to save whatever we had left of our toxic liaison. It was an epic mistake on my part, which I truly regret; coming back from the choice I made was hell…’ Marcia’s experience.
The people and stories are different, nevertheless, the pain and trauma of domestic violence is relatable to victims and survivors. The anguish and debasement of this silent epidemic which is mostly meted out in private, has destroyed intimate relationships and family ties, rendering its victims psychologically scarred long term.
In every relationship there are red flags that can alert us on the way our partners treat us, male or female. It becomes glaring over time, the longer we stay, and if we do not communicate our feelings these negative behaviors will increase. Both partners, whether through fear or control, becomes comfortable in the dysfunction and habits are formed that eventually destroys intimacy and trust, but most of all the other partners’ self-esteem, which effects their mental and emotional health. He/she becomes a fragment of their former selves.
Based on my twenty years of working with victims and survivors of domestic violence and what they experienced with their partners while dating; here are 12 red flags that you should never ignore:
- When your partner calls you derogatory names
- Takes pleasure in abusing you emotionally
- Serial cheating and making you believe it’s your fault
- He/she abuses drugs or alcohol
- Abuses you financially/ does not contribute to any bills
- Has to know where you are and where you go at all times
- Tracks your phone calls and your phone contacts
- Overly jealous, gets angry when you talk to male friends or coworkers
- Manipulates and withhold to get his/her way
- Tells you how to dress and controls every aspect of the relationship
- Blames his controlling nature on his/her love for you
- Treats you as if you are lucky to be in a relationship with him/her and reminds you that they can do better
Excerpt from my book (‘Faces of Domestic Violence’ Never Ignore The Red Flags’ chpt.5)
When dating, never ignore red flags in a short- or long-term relationship. If the behavior persist, never stay with the mindset that eventually there will be a change.
If you are a victim of domestic violence talk to someone you trust, seek help from services in your community that offer assistance and a place of safety for victims of domestic violence. Staying in abusive relationships can wear you down emotionally, mentally, and physically. For many victims leaving an abusive relationship is a process, and it can be the most dangerous period, when deciding to break ties with an abusive partner. Nevertheless, breaking ties can avoid you from suffering years of abuse and can ultimately save your life.
During the month of October and November, the Turks and Caicos Islands like many countries in the world, brings awareness to the subject of domestic violence and gender-based violence. Throughout the month, the hidden epidemic is highlighted to show the effects it has on victims and families who suffer in silence. The importance of seeking help and reporting instances of intimate partner violence is encouraged, to break the cycle and save lives one person at a time.
by Barbara Handfield