A huge problem plaguing women of every race, age and color is domestic abuse. Battered women are everywhere. They are mothers, aunts, nieces and grandmothers.
According to the Department of Justice, every nine seconds a woman is threatened, kicked, punched or slapped by a lover she trusts.
Victims of domestic abuse are involved in unhealthy relationships day in and day out. Often they are ashamed of their situation and afraid to seek help. However, experts say that talking about abuse is the most important step toward healing.
There are two main categories of domestic abuse: physical abuse and emotional abuse. Both can have detrimental effects on its victims.
Physical abuse is an extreme form of domestic violence, which entails any violent physical act such as choking, kicking and sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse is known to have a more subtle approach that includes, among other things, insults, name-calling, belittling and threatening.
In an article in the October 2000 issue of Ebony magazine, Dr. Oliver J. Williams, executive director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, said, “Women find themselves in a double bind because they love the person, but they don’t love the abuse.”
Quite often, abused victims are paralyzed by fear of further abuse, financial instability and death. But staying in these types of relationships is unhealthy physically and mentally. Kelly Mitchell-Clark, program manager of the San Francisco based Family Violence Prevention Fund, agrees: “There’s no relationship that’s worth suffering abuse.”
Here are some tips to stop the cycle of abuse.
1. Know the warning signs. According to Atlanta psychologist Lynda Dykes-Talmadge, one of the early warning signs is having a “partner who is very controlling.”
2. Confront the issue. The first time that a situation gets out of control, the victim must make it known that it will not be tolerated.
3. Tell someone. Experts suggest that victims tell a friend and/or family member. It would also be helpful to call Crime Prevention and Investigations at (215) 204-7178.
4. Leave! If the relationship is irreparable, even with intervention, don’t hesitate.
Abusive relationships are unhealthy. If this ever happens to you, action should be taken immediately to avoid further violence. Expressing yourself and talking about the issue will help in breaking the abusive cycle.