Stopping the cycle of domestic abuse

First Posted: 1/31/2009

Part One: How do you know if
you are being abused?

Editors Note: This is the first part of a series on domestic violence. Part two will be published in Mondays Mount Airy News.
North Carolina has the third highest rate of reported domestic violence in the nation. So far this year six people in North Carolina have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.
That includes Deonna Hiatt, a 19-year-old Mount Airy woman who died on Jan. 12, after being shot in the head the previous night in a domestic dispute. Police have charged her estranged husband, Christopher Scott Hiatt, 26, with first degree murder in that case.
Last year, 107 domestic violence victims lost their lives at the hand of another in North Carolina.
Although women are more highly affected by domestic violence, men are also affected according to Mary Owens, community services director for the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc.s Domestic Violence Services.
Many women are interested in ways they can predict whether they are about to become involved with someone who will be physically abusive, said Owens. Usually battering occurs between a man and a woman, but battering also takes place in same-sex relationships, Owens said.
Even though women or men may see signs of abuse, they many times overlook them because they are in love and dont want to lose their partner.
Owens said that domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. She said it doesnt matter what a persons social status is or what race they are.
Abuse happens in all areas of our society, Owens said. People of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
Owens said that people do not deserve to be hit, under any circumstances.
No one deserves to be abused period. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. Physical violence, even among family members is wrong and against the law.
She said while drugs and alcohol abuse often coincides with domestic violence, it is still not an excuse.
Alcohol use, drug use and stress do not cause domestic violence; they may go along with domestic violence, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers often say they use these excuses for their violence, Owens noted.
She said it is a myth to think that domestic violence only occurs between husband and wives.
Domestic violence affects everyone. About one in three American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. In 1996, 30 percent of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, Owens said.
She said 40 to 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children.
Owens said the following questions fall under the guidelines they use to help victims of domestic violence.
Does your partner?
Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
Put down your accomplishments or goals?
Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
Tell you that you are nothing without them?
Treat you roughly grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
Blame you for how they feel or act?
Pressure you sexually for things you arent ready for?
Make you feel like there is no way out of the relationship.
Prevent you from doing things you want like spending time with your friends or family?
Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to teach you a lesson?
Owens said those who fear that they are being abused should ask themselves these questions. Do you …
Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
Constantly make excuses to other people for your partners behavior?
Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?
Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?
Owens said If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without someone, the abuse will continue.
For more information or for help call Surry County Domestic Violence at 356-2014. The Sheriffs Office at 401-8900. A 24-hour crisis line is available at 679-2500.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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