How Do You Know if You've Been a Victim of Domestic Violence

No matter what way you look at it, domestic violence is a complex and serious problem. Far too many domestic violence victims never report the crime, often due to feelings of fear, shame, and uncertainty. Alternatively, there are some individuals who abuse domestic violence laws, making false allegations against their partner to gain leverage in divorce or child custody proceedings.

 

So how do you know if you or someone you love has been a victim of this type of crime, and put a stop to domestic violence without accusing someone unfairly? To help you notice and recognize an abusive relationship, we’ve included some of the most common signs of domestic violence below.

 

Your partner physically abuses you. If your partner uses any kind of physical force in a way that hurts or endangers you, he or she is guilty of domestic violence and is committing a crime. It doesn’t matter if their abuse seems minor or you don’t think you’ve been seriously hurt—physical attack of any kind is against the law. You should contact your local law enforcement officials immediately if your partner uses physical force to cause harm, instill fear, or to gain control.

 

Your partner forces you into sexual activity. Sexual abuse is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of behaviors where where your partner forces you to participate in sexual activity that is unwanted, dangerous, or debasing. Regardless of whether you are married, friends, or in a consensual sexual relationship, an act of forced sexual activity is an act of domestic violence.

 

Your partner verbally or emotionally abuses you. Not all domestic violence crimes are physical. Verbal and emotional types of abuse are often overlooked, but they can be equally harmful and leave deep psychological scars. Examples of verbal and emotional abuse include shouting, insults, name-calling, shaming, threats, and intimidation.

 

Your partner financially abuses you. Economic or financial abuse is a type of psychological abuse where one partner uses money to control the other. You may be a victim of financial abuse if your partner tries to control your finances, withholds money and necessities, steals from you, or prevents you from working.

 

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You live in fear. Fear of your partner is one of the most telling indicators that you are involved in an abusive relationship. If you feel afraid of your partner much of the time, and are forever watching what you do and say in order to avoid arousing anger, you may be in a dangerous relationship situation.

 

You have low self-esteem. Abusive partners use insults and humiliation to maintain control over your feelings and behavior. After being involved in a domestic violence relationship, you may find yourself believing that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated. You may wonder if you are the one who is crazy, and blame yourself for his or her abusive behavior.

 

Your partner has a hot and unpredictable temper. Domestic violence offenders are often jealous and possessive, and the smallest thing can set them off. If your spouse frequently yells, criticizes, or threatens you, you may be involved in an unhealthy and dangerous relationship.

 

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No one should have to live in fear of domestic violence, and it’s critical to seek help immediately if you identify these signs in your own relationship or in the relationships of others.

 

If you believe that you or someone you care about has been a victim of domestic violence, you should act now. If you are in need of immediate assistance, you should call 911 or your local emergency service. Otherwise, you should leave the abusive situation as soon as possible, taking your children and arranging to stay with a friend, family, or a local domestic violence shelter.

 

When you and your family are safe, you should seek legal counsel from a Florida domestic violence attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your rights, and expand the horizon of opportunities to protect yourself and your family.

 

You may be able to secure a restraining order against the person who is threatening you or your children’s safety. Your attorney can help you file for a protection or restraining order against domestic violence to protect you and your family from your abuser.

 

The issues surrounding domestic violence can be complex and incredibly sensitive. Don’t attempt to navigate these troubled waters alone—contact a Florida domestic violence lawyer, who can help you speak up for your rights and help you on your path to safety and healing.