When we commit to a relationship with someone we know and love, we share intimate parts of our minds and souls through trust. That trust can be demolished through domestic violence.
As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to acknowledge that there are several forms of abuse that partners use to gain power and control over their victims. One of the most common tactics of gaining power and control is sexual abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that approximately 45% of women who are in abusive relationships also suffer sexual assault as a form of repeated sexual abuse by their partner.
The severity of experiencing sexual abuse is felt not only through immediate physical pain, fear, and a sense of betrayal - there are long-term mental health effects such as depression and anxiety that will cloud over a survivor’s entire life. The reality is that if sexual abuse within domestic violence is not affecting you, then it is affecting someone you know.
The following are some warning signs to keep in mind to determine if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse:
If you’d like to learn more about gaslighting, check out our blog post covering everything you need to know about it!
Isolation from family and friends
The more isolated the victim is, the less people she has to rely on, and the more power and control the abuser has over her and her life.
Feeling pressured to share locations, passwords and digital accounts.
Along with inconsistent explanations for those injuries.
Fear of partner
Fear is the key factor in transforming a relationship from being unhealthy to abusive. Feeling scared of your partner or worried of how they will act towards you is a blatant warning sign that your partner is potentially being abusive towards you.
The most important thing to remember is that abuse is never the victim’s fault.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse through domestic violence, please find the courage within you to sign up for our survivor-led healing program, Shelter.
If you would like to seek more resources or help, contact the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 (TTY: 1-800-621-4202).