GUEST OP-ED: Domestic Violence, The Hidden Crime

Are you or someone you love being abused? 1 out of every 3 womenis in an abusive relationship.

Domestic Violence includes physical abuse, emotional abuse,threats, intimidation, isolation and economic coercion. It is usedby one person against another to exert his/her power and control.This abuse takes place in the context of dating, family orhousehold relationships.

Domestic violence is intentional behavior. It is not just a fightthat goes of control or an incident of an individual losing his orher temper. It is purposeful, with the intention of gaining andmaintaining control and power in a relationship.

At times, the abuse is easily identified – violent physical contactand name calling. At other times, the abuse may appear to beromance – constant phone calls, gifts, jealousy.

Below are 10 common indicators:

• Stalking: questioning your every move and telling you that he orshe loves you and is being protective;

• Texting or calling you constantly; telling you he or she isconcerned about you and wants to make sure you’re safe;

• Controlling your finances; force you to account in detail forwhat you spend;

• Criticizing you for every little thing you do;

• Humiliating you in front of your family and friends;

• Angering easily, particularly if he or she is drinking;

• Forcing you to have sex against your will;

• Hitting or punching you;

• Jealous of friendships or any other outside relationships;

• Isolation from family and friends.

If you can say yes to even one of these, you are in an abusiverelationship!

• Don’t ignore the problem be prepared – make a safety plan;

• Often in a calm stage, victims choose to remain in a relationshiphopeful that the abuser will change;

• It is important to have a safety plan in the event the violenceerupts again;

• Call a shelter, and find out about legal options or otherresources available to you before you have to use them;

• Prepare an emergency bag, extra cash, checkbook, savings account,identification, medical insurance card and address book;

• Keep the emergency bag in a safe place where the abuser cannotfind it;

• Know exactly where to go and how to get there, even if thebattery should occur in the middle of the night;

• Leave the situation; take the kids with you;

• If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Dr. Nicoletta Pallotta is director of Brooklyn Women’sServices, LLC, an affiliate of Maimonides Medical Center.

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