Love shouldn’t hurt. Yet, statistics reveal that one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence. Often, victims of domestic violence don’t see the signs of abuse, and when they do, they may feel like it’s too late to do anything about it. Leaving sounds easy, but the process of fleeing a violent situation is potentially volatile and can be dangerous.
At The McKeon Law Firm, we know that “getting out” can be overwhelming. That is why we wanted to create a list of things every Marylander should know about domestic violence.
What Is Domestic Violence?
The term “domestic violence” is used often, but few people understand what the phrase encompasses. Domestic violence is more than physical abuse. Domestic violence is also verbal and sexual abuse. Domestic violence can also include social isolation, harassment, threats, destruction of property, and emotional withholding.
In a nutshell, domestic violence is any pattern of coercive behavior that asserts one intimate partner’s dominance or control over another.
What Every Marylander Should Know About Domestic Violence
Even in today’s more enlightened times, domestic violence is often a hidden crime. People are ashamed that it happened to them or think that no one will believe them if they report it. Here are some things everyone should know about domestic violence.
It Can Happen to Anyone
Cases of domestic violence have been documented across all social, racial, religious, and economic groups. Anyone can become a victim of domestic violence. Although women are most often the target of violence, men can also be subjected to abuse.
Domestic Violence Is Always Serious
Too often, victims of domestic violence write off the red flags in their relationship. Hitting, punching, sexual violence, and emotional abuse are never parts of a healthy and productive relationship. A domestic violence victim may try to justify an abuser’s behavior by saying they only hit occasionally. Or that the abuser hits, but it’s never hard enough to cause serious injury. An injury doesn’t have to send you to the hospital to be considered the result of domestic violence.
You Can Get Out
People who haven’t been in an abusive relationship may think that if a person is abused by their partner, they can simply leave. Leaving an abusive relationship is always so much easier said than done. There are numerous reasons a victim of domestic violence may choose to remain with their abuser.
Abusers tend to be master manipulators. They may shame or embarrass their partner or tear down their partner’s confidence until the victim is so traumatized that they believe they deserve the abuse. When your self-worth has crumbled, you believe you don’t deserve anything better. If you don’t deserve anything better, why would you attempt to leave your situation?
Domestic abusers will often try to isolate their victims from family and friends. Over time, the abuser erodes the victim’s connections with family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who could potentially spot or report the abuse. When these bonds dissolve, the victim has no one to turn to for help when they realize they are stuck in a bad situation. They are now essentially dependent on their abuser for everything.
An abuser can isolate a victim financially as well. Controlling the household financial situation means a victim may not have the means to escape, even if they want to leave.
Threats are also an effective way to keep a partner in an abusive relationship. If a victim is afraid for their life or for the life of a child, they may continue to endure domestic violence because they fear something worse in retaliation.
You Are Not Alone
The number one thing that Marylanders need to know about domestic violence is that they are not alone. Several resources are available to help those who need to get out of a distressing situation. If you are being abused and need help, consider the following:
- Call Maryland 211
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
- Maryland Domestic Violence Program
If you are in imminent danger, call 911 or local law enforcement immediately.
Contact The McKeon Law Firm Now
If you are involved in a partnership that has turned violent, contact the legal team at The McKeon Law Firm for help. Our sensitive team can give you the confidence and legal advice you need to move forward with your life and leave behind the shackles of abuse.
For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our Maryland office at 301-417-9222 today.