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If you think you know of an abusive husband or partner, look over the questions below. Not all abuse involves hitting or threats of physical violence. Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of domestic abuse is the first step in helping the abused.

Remember that someone who is scared, denied access to money, or put down is being abused as well. This may apply to you, your mother, your sister, a friend, your child.

The questions are courtesy of the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse.

Does someone...

• Embarrass or make fun of her in front of her friends or family?

• Put down her accomplishments or goals?

• Make her feel like she is unable to make decisions?

• Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?

• Tell her that she is nothing without them?

• Treat her roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit her?

• Call her several times a night or show up to make sure she is where she said she would be?

• Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing her?

• Blame her for how he feels or acts?

• Pressure her sexually for things she isn’t ready for?

• Make her feel trapped, like there "is no way out" of the relationship?

• Prevent her from doing things she wants – like spending time with her friends or family?

• Try to keep her from leaving after a fight, or leave her somewhere after a fight to "teach her a lesson"?

Does she…

• Sometimes feel scared of how her partner will act?

• Constantly make excuses to other people for her partner's behavior?

• Believe that she can help her partner change if only she could change something about herself?

• Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make her partner angry?

• Always do what her partner wants her to do instead of what she wants?

• Stay with her partner because she is afraid of what her partner would do if she tried to break up?

• Sometimes feel scared of how her partner will act?

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is a victim of domestic abuse, stop things right here. If a man has never hit the woman, but has yelled, criticized, isolated or withheld love and emotional support, there is every possibility that, when times get hard, he will go further.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats, intimidation or verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. While physical abuse may be the most obvious, any form of abuse is serious. No one deserves to live with such pain.

The first step in breaking away from that pain is to recognize the situation for what it really is and to seek help, or to leave the marriage. Two researchers in the economics department of Queens University and the University of Western Ontario, both in Ontario, Canada, found in 2002 that “the vast majority of violent marriages end in divorce.” In first marriages with a high severity of abuse, the divorce rate was 79 percent.

The study, which also found that abused women earn less money, said that women made employment decisions “taking into account how their behavior influences the likelihood of experiencing abuse.” They tend to work more outside the house in response to abuse.

If a woman has her own money, she can buy her freedom; abusive men, therefore, will belittle a woman’s skills, or demand she stay home to take care of him.

The study also found that men carefully calibrate the level and frequency of their abuse, “taking into account the likelihood their wives will divorce them.” But unemployed husbands were twice as likely to be highly abusive.


Related Content:

How to Get Help for Victims of Domestic Abuse

5 Keys to Divorcing Yourself From Physical Abuse, by author, Dr. Gina Meyers

Domestic Abuse: What You Need to Know

The Truth Behind Domestic Violence, a video interview with Bea Hanson, Chief Program Officer for Safe Horizon

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