By: Kenzie Davis, LMFTA

TW: This post discusses Domestic Violence

Human existence is to love and be loved. We strive for this in all relationships we are a part of with our kids, parents, friends, associates, and most importantly our partner(s). However, if you are old enough to read this blog post we know that fairytale relationships are not real and healthy love is not always the basis or foundation of every partnership. And sometimes because the love is not healthy people may end up in an abusive relationship. When abusive, harmful, aggressive behavior is emitted from one partner to another it is called domestic violence (DV) also known as intimate partner violence (IPV). There is a lot of information on DV because it is very rampant and common in intimate partnerships. Think about these national statistics: 

  • 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year. 
  • Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other. 
  • 1 in 4 men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. 
  • The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 is 6,488. The number of women who were murdered by current or ex-male partners during that same time frame is 11,766, according to the Huffington Post. That’s almost double the number of people who were killed fighting in the war!

Check out North Carolina stats: 

  • In a 24-hour survey period in 2020 in North Carolina, local and state hotlines answered 540 calls, averaging more than 23 hotline calls every hour.
  •  In North Carolina in 2020, there were 91 intimate partner homicides. 
  • Between 2010 and 2016, North Carolina had 745 domestic violence-related homicides. 
  • As of December 31, 2020, North Carolina had submitted 2,158 misdemeanor domestic violence convictions and 355 active protective order records to the NICS Index.

DV Behavior

Abuse can take all different kinds of forms depending on the perpetrator. Abuse is used to instill fear and to gain/maintain control or power. Domestic violence includes verbal, mental, emotional, economic, physical, or sexual abuse. This abusive behavior can look like: 

  • Your partner hitting, beating, or strangling you
  • Your partner is possessive. They check up on you constantly wondering where you are; they get mad at you for hanging out with certain people if you don’t do what they say. 
  • Your partner is jealous. (A small amount of jealousy is normal and healthy) however, if they accuse you of being unfaithful or isolate you from family or friends, that means the jealousy has gone too far. 
  • Your partner puts you down. They attack your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities. They blame you for all of their violent outbursts and tell you nobody else will want you if you leave.
  • Your partner threatens you or your family.
  • Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time.)

Why Stay?

Victims of this abuse feel an array of emotions because there is an attachment to the person and a cycle of abuse. The cycle of abuse recognizes 3 main phases an abusive relationship goes in: friction building (walking on eggshells), explosive phase (abuse occurs), and honeymoon phase (the perpetrator may be extremely apologetic and loving; promising never to do it again). With lowered self-esteem, most victims believe their partner is sincere and truly loves them, so they stay in the relationship. In addition to this false hope, people stay in abusive relationships because of sharing kids, homes, pets, or finances with the perpetrator. Most tragically, it can be deadly to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention program.

Help Is Available!

Living in an abusive relationship is a tremendously scary situation. Please find a trusted friend or professional to talk to. Spend time with people that support you and are concerned for you. Locate resources available to you, such as the DV hotline number (1-800-799-7233)  or text message line (text START to 88788), sheltered, or support groups. I want to reiterate that if you are a victim of DV, you did not cause or are the blame for any abuse. You are more than enough and worthy of being in a relationship that promotes healthy love. In addition to the above resources, there are passionate, caring clinicians at Mathews Counseling that you can turn to support you. Help is available to you! 

Dedicated to my sister ❤️

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