Domestic violence is not limited to gender, social status or income level. At this time of year, when stress is high, and higher still due to the poor economy, unemployment, looming holiday obligations, etc., domestic violence increases everywhere.

Many women do not know what to call their secret, little problem. It must be my fault. I must have done something. No. Abuse is a problem within the abuser, not the victim.

Does this torture have a name? Am I actually being abused? Is this verbal abuse? Mental abuse? What if your partner just twists your arm until you cry – that’s not hitting, is that abuse? I want to try to crack open the door into domestic hell for you, and let you get a little peek inside. That way you can decide for yourself and at least not wonder about what is happening and, whether you are simply crazy. Perhaps you will get help if you are being abused. That would be the best thing. That would be the perfect thing.

What, exactly, is domestic violence? It is just physical abuse? And what exactly is verbal/mental abuse? What does that mean? Is verbal abuse a reason to leave, even if your beloved has never hit you? What if he does hit you? Kick you? Deliver a well planned punch when you are not looking? What about slapping? Does your partner engage in frightening behavior and then demand obedience to his Biblical role as your husband? What about throwing things at you? (Yeah, the eight inch, twenty-pound phone book counts.) Is that abuse? In a word: Yes.

Does he frighten you for no reason (or for his entertainment)? Does he threaten to kill you? Or harm your loved-ones? Does he accuse you of infidelity and/or other “crimes” against him or against your relationship, for no real reason? Again, “he said – she said” is just my point of reference, domestic violence is NOT only a heterosexual problem.

Do you feel that you might be losing your mind? Have you begun to wonder if, possibly, he is right, and that you are, truly, any, or some of the names he calls you?

Have you given up trying to reach out for help? Does he intimidate your loved ones and friends, so that you are not sure that anyone would actually help you in a tough moment? Has he threatened to take your children away from you? Does he tell you that he will take them away and that you will never see them again? Do you feel totally out of control? Do you wonder what is wrong with you?

If your beloved husband/lover/boyfriend/partner creates an environment of violence and fear, such that you begin to doubt your sanity and your worth as a human being, you are, indeed, living with domestic violence.

Ask for help. Find a shelter. Run like your life depends upon it (because, in truth, it does). Please, don’t pack. Just walk away. Packing will slow you down and get you caught. Be safe first, the other stuff can be replaced.

blessings and love