Domestic violence can happen to anyone: teachers, factory workers, cashiers, physicians, waiters. As reported by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in 2005, 41% of all reported crimes against persons were domestic violence. You are not automatically safe because of your race, religion, the amount of money you make or how long you went to school. You can be abused by your partner whether you are gay or straight, a senior citizen, teenager, married or single. Victims can be male or female. The same laws and services apply no matter who the victim is.
As for abusers, it is sometimes difficult to tell who will be abusive. Abusers come from all races, classes, ages, religions, communities, and sexual orientations. There are certain actions or behaviors that may suggest that a person is a potential abuser.
Characteristics of an Abuser
An abuser often becomes extremely hurt and angry whenever you talk to anyone else, even if it is a family member or a neighbor. This could be a sign of the need to control you. While jealousy may be flattering at first it can quickly become frustrating and scary.
An abuser may propose to you or move in with you shortly after you first meet. Abusers get a sense of power from controlling others; they seek serious relationships to justify their controlling efforts.
Lack of Other Relationships
An abuser often has few friends. They might tell you that you are the only person they can talk to or the only person who understands them. An abuser may also try to prevent you from having other friends and relationships.
Constant Blame of Others
An abuser often feels their problems and feelings are all someone else’s fault and responsibility. He or she might claim that you are the reason they make mistakes or fail at things. For example, they may say they are the victim and that you are the cause of all their problems. Abusers often refuse to accept responsibility for their irrational behavior.
Belief In Traditional Sex Roles (Male Domination)
Many male abusers believe that men should be in charge of all decisions. They think women should stay at home and concentrate on keeping the house tidy, having dinner on the table, taking care of the children, etc. Pleasing their spouse should be a victim’s prime concern and this includes sexual gratification.
Abusers may be cruel to children and animals or obsessed with guns or other weapons. They may threaten you or tell you about past violent relationships. All victims must realize if an abuser makes a threat it has been a thought and therefore a plan in the abuser’s mind.
An abuser often becomes very angry at the slightest thing and takes everything personally.
Abusers may be sweet and loving one moment and violently furious the next. Excuses are an abusers best friend: It’s my medication. It’s the drugs, I would never hurt you. I have a mental illness, it’s not my fault. If you had only done what I asked you wouldn’t have caused this.
Abuse of Drugs or Alcohol
An abuser may drink too much or take illegal drugs. While drugs and alcohol do not cause abuse, they can trigger more violent intense outbursts.
If someone you are close to acts this way this person may be abusive. You should consider ending the relationship before the abuse starts. Abusers almost never stop violent behavior on their own. No matter what you do, how long you stay or what you give in to you will not be able to change him or her. You do not deserve to be abused and you have the right to be happy.
Center of Hope was founded in 1989 shortly after the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence determined that there was a need for emergency shelter and counseling for victims of domestic violence in Maury County.
Beginning as a grassroots movement in Columbia, Maury County’s largest city, Center of Hope first came about when the Columbia Business and Professional Women’s Association (BPW) teamed together with the Coalition to bring services to local victims of domestic violence.