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Abuse not on the outside but on the inside

by Erin Wallace

When I first came to Shenandoah University I met a cute guy within the first week.
Instantly we clicked with each other and hung out all the time during welcome week. After two
or three days we started dating each other, which was the worst mistake of my life. About a
month later I started to notice that he would speak for me. He would use the words “us” and
“we” all the time, and invited himself to every single thing that I did with my friends. Eventually,
things got worse and he ended up pinning me to a bed just because I would not tell him something
that was on my mind. Around two days later he also broke into my room through our bathroom.
My roommate yelled at him for around ten minutes and then he broke up with me saying that this
was not going to work out. After all of these events, my anxiety got a whole lot worse and my
mental state declined at a rapid pace.

Every minute of every year 20 new people get beaten up and abused by their significant
other (2). On an average day around 20,000 calls get made to hotlines that help with domestic
abuse (2). Domestic abuse can be physical, mental, or even sexual (4). Around 15% of crimes
that have an injury as an outcome are cases of domestic abuse (2). One in four of those women
suffer either from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or scars that will always be with them
from either having experienced severe domestic abuse or stalking from their significant other (2).
One in twenty-five of the men that deal with domestic violence actually get injured by their
significant other (2). Around 34% of people never go to the doctor or a hospital to receive the
care that they need (2). Some studies show a relationship between domestic abuse, depression,
and attempts at suicide (2). Domestic violence affects everyone no matter how old you are, who you believe in, if you are part of the LGBTQ community, or your race (4). Something that is
helpful to stopping domestic abuse is going to talk to either a friend or a family member, they
will sit down and listen to you (3). The next thing is to accept that this is not your fault, just
because your partner is telling you that you are causing this abuse does not mean it is true (3).
Finally, connect to one of the multitudes of organizations out there, they will help you get through
this (3).

The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) creates houses for anyone who is
homeless and has suffered from domestic abuse, so that way they have an easier time rebuilding
their lives (1). They also help make sure to keep the children of the survivors safe, that way no
one has to worry about the abusers getting in contact with the children (1). YWCA has a
financial education program that tries to teach survivors how to become financially stable (1).
The organization helps the survivors through the court cases by being there for emotional support
and to help with some of the information (1). Counseling is also a big thing that the YWCA tries
to provide to all of the survivors who may be suffering from PTSD, or other mental health issues
that their significant other created (1). YWCA also goes around to different schools and
organizations teaching people what domestic abuse behaviors look like (1). In total the YWCA
reaches at least 2.3 million women in 45 different states (1).

If you are fearful that a friend, or maybe even a family member, is going through
domestic violence call YWCA’s hotline at 800-799-7233 (1). It is better to help stop what is going on now, and even if you were wrong then at least you will know. No one should have to deal with a significant other beating them up physically or emotionally (3). So if you suddenly see that your best friend doesn’t really want to hang out anymore, or they are always wearing long sleeves then ask (3). They might not tell you right away but their facial expression may tell
you if it is happening or not as soon as you ask that question. People who are suffering from
domestic violence usually think that they deserve this, or that if they break the relationship off
then the violence will only get worse (3). They would need your help more than ever; you can
do something that maybe they don’t have the will to do. Another sign is that if you are ever
hanging out with your friend and their significant other see if they can speak for themselves (3).
That means the significant other is not always using the words “we” and “us” and is letting the
other person talk. The very last thing that you can do is make sure that your friend knows that
they are not alone and that you will help them work through the difficult situation (3).

References:

1- Domestic and sexual violence services. Young Women’s Christan Association.
https://www.ywca.org/what-we-do/domestic-and-sexual-violence-services/
2- Statistics. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. https://ncadv.org/statistics
3- We all have a role in ending domestic violence. Department on the Status of Women.
https://sfgov.org/dosw/we-all-have-role-ending-domestic-violence
4- What is domestic abuse. United Nations.
https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/what-is-domestic-abuse

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