Dating Violence Primer
While women are the more frequent victims of domestic violence, men can be victims too. Whatever your gender, it is good to keep an eye on things. If you are dating someone and your partner seems a bit psycho, you may be entering a situation of “dating violence”. Wikipedia has a good starting point, with a list (adapted from ACADV) of early warning signs of dating violence:
- Extreme jealousy
- Controlling behavior
- Quick involvement
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Alcohol and drug use
- Explosive anger
- Isolates you from friends and family
- Uses force during an argument
- Shows emotional hypersensitivity
- Believes in rigid sex roles
- Blames others for his/her problems or feelings
- Cruel to animals or children
- Verbally abusive
- Abused former partners
- Threatens violence
There’s plenty of material online, and the CDC has a teen-oriented web-site called ChooseRespect.org.
An abusive relationship can creep up you. Victims tend to accept abusive relationships out of a combination of low self-esteem and a degree of ignorance about the dynamics of abuse. The Getting Past Your Past blog has a great article explaining “The Abusive and Semi-Abusive Relationship” . . . she twice features this warning in bold type:
The most lethal time for an abused person is when they are trying to leave the abuser. Have a plan and get back up! The news is full of (seemingly) nice people whose partner was trying to leave and ended up dead. When in a domestically abusive situation, use universal precautions and assume anyone has the propensity for violence.
As far as I can find anywhere, the best and seemingly sole advice regarding how to handle domestic violence is to leave. To this end, there is a National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
If you are preparing to resolve an abusive situation, the American Bar Association offers a Domestic Violence Safety Plan. It is a bit scary to read, but better to consider such things before you actually live them!