Monday, November 29, 2010

On Domestic Violence

Thursday wasn’t just Thanksgiving. It also marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s fitting that the two should coincide, given the stress often associated with the holiday season. In many homes, this is the most dangerous time of the year.

The topic is hitting a little too close to home for me today: A close friend just confided that the man he has been dating for three months threatened his life and appears to be stalking him. Sadly, perhaps tragically, my friend doesn’t see the danger. The battered spouse syndrome is alive and well.

(An aside: I understand why the international community has focused its attention on women. But of course, domestic violence is perpetrated by, and against, both men and women). 

I used to wonder whether my partner was abusive. That, as it turns out, was a red flag in itself. Fortunately, good therapists helped me sort it out, and with their help I gathered up the courage to leave those destructive relationships.  Later, as an academic librarian, I periodically selected domestic abuse as my topic for the week’s website recommendations. Those sites were among the most popular I showcased.

So, let’s talk. Is your relationship abusive?  Thank goodness we don’t have to figure it out in isolation. Here are some of the resources that I found most useful:

Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships. Great information with lots of links about both physical and emotional abuse.

Personalized Safety Plan. How to protect yourself if you are in an abusive relationship.

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship. This book isn’t specifically about abuse, but it really helped me gain some clarity.

By looking at these resources, I discovered that I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t crazy. And for me, that was the first step in healing the hurt.

I wish the same for you.

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