October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic violence is violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends.
Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other.1 in 4 men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
The term ‘domestic violence’ is used when there is a close relationship between the offender and the victim. There is usually a power gap between them. The victim is dependent on the offender. Domestic violence can take the form of physical, sexual or psychological abuse. It can be used against a partner, senior, or child in the family.
Sometimes, people don’t know if they are really in an abusive relationship because they’re used to their partner calling them crazy or making them feel like all the problems are their own fault. Here are a few ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship that you need to get out of.
Your partner has hit you, beat you, or strangled you in the past.
Your partner is possessive. They check up on you constantly wondering where you are; they get mad at you for hanging out with certain people if you don’t do what they say.
Your partner is jealous. (A small amount of jealousy is normal and healthy) however, if they accuse you of being unfaithful or isolate you from family or friends, that means the jealousy has gone too far.
Your partner puts you down. They attack your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities. They blame you for all of their violent outbursts and tell you nobody else will want you if you leave.
Your partner threatens you or your family.
Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time.)
The cycle of violence can be stopped. Victims can be helped to find the strength to seek and accept protection, advice, and practical help from their local shelters and mental health clinics. Abusers can learn how to appropriately express anger and how to be loving partners by attending programs for partners against violence or therapy. Couples can learn how to be loving and supportive partners and parents through couples counseling and parent education classes. And children of abusive relationships can be healed when their parents get themselves and the children into treatment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, consider contacting contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Locally you can contact CHANA, which offers a Jewish response to the needs of people who experience abuse in Northwest Baltimore City and County.
Help is a phone call away. House of Ruth Maryland counselors provide victims with the services necessary to rebuild their lives safely and free of fear.
At O'Byrne Law, we know how important it is to update your estate planning documents when you are in transition from your living arrangements/spouse, as the defaults provide authority to your spouse/family members. Since it may take some time for a divorce to be finalized, new documents naming trusted individuals instead of spouse/abuser should be done ASAP, as well as revocation of prior documents naming these individuals.
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