Domestic violence becomes a person’s powerlessness over their own life. Emotional, financial, physical, mental and verbal abuse stem from the abusive partner’s need to have power over their victim.

In order for someone to have power over another person they have to take away the other person’s ability to make choices for themselves. How can someone change the way another person makes their own choices? The abuser takes over the choices their victim makes by conditioning them to constantly seek for approval or permission.
This power struggle starts subtly in the beginning of the relationship. The person with power and control issues begins checking-in frequently and asking very specific questions. They use disapproval before leading to telling them not to do something, wear something or go somewhere. When this does not work it escalates to threats or explosive behaviors. The abuser’s need for control goes beyond any reasons. They only care what that other person is doing or what they will do and not how they feel.
The abuser calls, emails, or texts constantly. The need for constant contact might be seen as charming or sweet at first, but it slowly becomes overbearing. They fly into an angry rage if the phone rings more than a few times or goes to voice mail. Maybe they set off an alarm to get that person’s attention. Their need for control overshadows all sense of right or wrong.
If confronted with their behaviors, the abusive person never accepts responsibility for their actions. They use jealousy as an excuse. Maybe they even state that they need to make sure the other person is safe. Endless discussions happen over the slightest things. They always need to be right.
The victim watches the clock when they are out without that person. They try to do everything just right to avoid the fights or the three hour conversation about why they could not answer the telephone. The victim starts apologizing for everything because they start to think that they are the problem and not their abuser.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month we work very hard to remind everyone that domestic violence affects us all. One in four women will become victims in their lifetime. This is the women that are brave enough to report. We still have victims and survivors that are too afraid or embarrassed to come forward. Unfortunately, domestic violence is still seen as a relationship issue and not a serious violence issue in our society. We still look to the victim or survivor for why these things happen instead of looking at the perpetrator and asking why they did it.
Crisis Services of North Alabama works hard to change the conversation for survivors. It is never the victim’s fault for abuse. Whether they stay in it for five days or fifteen years, they never asked for this to happen. We want everyone to know that life after abuse is possible. Stop blaming victims for a crime that has been committed towards them.
If any of this sounds familiar know that you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner. Please contact Crisis Services of North Alabama on our 24 hour HELPline at 256-716-1000 or locally at 256-574-5826. We can help. We provide free, confidential support to anyone experiencing intimate partner violence.

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