You’ve all seen the poster of a woman with a black eye; in fact, it’s how most of us initially learned about domestic violence. The photo shaped our beliefs (and some persistent myths) about domestic violence:
- the victim is always a woman
- abuse is physical violence
- domestic violence is as easy to spot as just looking at someone’s face.
While that poster brought about awareness, I’m not a fan of that poster because it limits our understanding of this complex issue. If DVRC had a dollar for every time someone has said, “I’m not sure if I should even be calling, I’ve never been hit”, well, we’d have a boatload more money to support prevention and outreach services. Often the people who say that line, will then go on to tell us about a very controlling and abusive relationship… but they’re not sure it’s domestic violence… because it doesn’t meet our image of violence.
What they describe is emotional abuse that permeates every waking moment, every decision, every action, even their very thoughts. They often feel they’re living their life as if walking on eggshells, but they’ve never come for help because that poster wasn’t about this type of abuse. It’s emotional abuse… it’s very common… and it’s equally (if not more) damaging than that stereotypical black eye.
So how do we recognize emotional abuse? Dr Kristen Davin outlines 12 Unmistakable Signs You’re Dating an Emotional Abuser:
If you or someone you know
is experiencing any form of relationship abuse,
you are not alone, call for help now.
Call 518-583-0280 for an appointment with an advocate…
or call DVRC’s 24 hour hotline at 518-584-8188