Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Do you know someone who is abusing his/her spouse or loved one? Are you wondering what constitutes abuse because you have your suspicions of someone you know? Abuse is:
• Calling bad names or putting someone down
• Shouting and cursing
• Hitting, slapping and/or pushing
• Making threats of any kind
• Jealousy and suspicion
• Keeping someone away from family and friends
• Throwing things around the house
You may think “It isn’t my business” or “I don’t know what I am talking about so I shouldn’t bring it up.” I had a friend come to me after I left my abuser. He was in tears after we started talking about what my abuser had done to me. He apologized profusely and said, “Jeanette, I knew it was going on all these years, yet I did nothing, nothing to help save you or your kids from the hell he put you through.” First of all, if someone is hurting someone you care about especially in front of you, it is your business. I don’t care what preachers and clergymen say: A man DOES NOT have the right to “discipline” his wife. I had 2 preachers tell me this when I was seeking help. If what your friend or relative is doing to his wife or girlfriend in front of make you uncomfortable, speak up. It doesn’t necessarily have to be right then and there unless it is getting too bad. Take him aside sometime when he is calmer and speak to him about what you observed. If he says it is none of your business, tell him what I just said, “If you do it in front of me, it is my business.”
Silence is not always golden but how do you bring up your concern? Say things like:
• “I care about you, but I don’t like what you do to her”.
• “Do you see how she reacts to you? She is very afraid of you and that is just not right.”
• “Good husbands/boyfriends shouldn’t do that to the woman they love.”
• “Would you tolerate someone treating your mom or daughter that way?”
• “She is scared of you. If you love her, she shouldn’t be scared of you.”
• “You really need some help in learning how to deal with your anger better”
• “You know, domestic violence is a crime. You could go to jail for what you are doing. Then where would that leave your family?”
One of my friend said to my abuser one day, “If you treat her like this in front of people, I would hate to see what you do to her when no one is around.” This really made my abuser mad but it made him stop for awhile. The person you are talking to will most likely get angry, turn their abuse towards you, or, hopefully, realize what they are doing and stop. Never be afraid to call the police on someone who is abusing someone else. Your phone call could save their lives. Domestic Violence is a prosecutable crime. We have turned our heads too many times to allow domestic violence to continue in our world.
For more information about domestic violence, I encourage you to read all of my articles on this site and also to visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website. Also, I have resources listed for every state here. Chatting in the Domestic Violence forums is also a good place to come ask questions!