Domestic Violence: We Can Live Without It: Rights and Options Available Under the Law
POTENTIAL INDICATORS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
The following are some of the warning signs that indicate the possibility of domestic violence:
Does Your Partner Ever:
- Put you down, call you names, or make you feel bad about yourself
- Make you do something humiliating or degrading, or embarrass you in front of others
- Control what you do, whom you see or talk to, or where you go
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members
- Take your money, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money
- Intentionally damage your possessions or threaten to do so
- Tell you that you are a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children
- Prevent you from working or attending school
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, is your fault, or even deny inflicting it
- Make all the decisions and/or control the money
- Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you
- Force you to try and drop charges you have filed
- Threaten to commit suicide
- Threaten to kill you
- Use drugs and alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you
- Pressure you sexually for things you are uncomfortable doing
- Tell you that you are nothing without him or her
- Ever feel like you are walking on egg shells
- Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act
- Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior
- Believe that you can help your partner change if only you change yourself
- Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry
- Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of doing what you want
- Stay because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up
If have observed any of these warning signs in your life, you may be in an abusive relationship. If you know of an individual who is being abused, you may be the best, and perhaps the only, helper your battered friend or acquaintance has. The strain battered persons live with makes them very unsure of themselves. How individuals are treated by others they thought might help, but didn’t, may make them believe that they are helpless and that no one cares.
Domestic violence is everyone’s concern. The long-term effects of domestic violence have not begun to be fully documented, but what we do know is shocking, long-lasting, and a drain on all of society. The emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by batterers may be more costly to treat than the physical injuries inflicted. The problems abound.
- Many of the physical injuries sustained by women seem to cause medical difficulties as women grow older. Battered women have identified arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease as directly caused by aggravated domestic violence experienced early in their lives.
- Battered women lose their jobs because of absenteeism due to illness as a result of the violence. Absences occasioned by court appearances also jeopardize women’s livelihood. Battered women may have to move frequently to avoid violence.
- Some battered women have lost their religious communities when separating from abusers because religious doctrine prohibits separation or divorce, whatever the severity of the abuse.
- Many battered women have had to forego financial security during divorce proceedings to avoid further abuse. As a result, they are impoverished as they grow older.
- One-third of the children who witness the battering of their mothers demonstrate significant behavioral and/or emotional problems, including psychosomatic disorders, anxiety and fears, sleep disruption, excessive crying, and school problems.
- Boys who witness their fathers’ abuse of their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence on others as adults. Girls who witness abuse of their mothers may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not. These negative effects may be diminished if children benefit from intervention by the law and domestic violence programs.
The Knoxville Bar Association recognizes that finding solutions to the problem of domestic violence is everyone’s job. It is the hope of the Knoxville Bar Association that the information contained in this handbook will be one step toward a solution. The goal of the handbook is to provide victims of domestic violence or individuals attempting to assist victims of domestic violence the means to effectively and efficiently use the resources available in our community and to determine if legal counsel or advice is needed.