October is such a festive month; however, it is also a very important month for any person in a relationship.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here at Skinny Mom, we take this month’s cause very seriously. While physical abuse can surface as bumps and bruises, there are so many other ways in which damage can take place. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women have experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. We wanted to take the time and provide you with some signs to check for not only physical abuse, but also emotional and financial abuse, two lesser recognized or acknowledged forms.

PHYSICAL 

Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. (U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates) While that stat is shocking, we were even more alarmed to read this figure posted by domesticviolencestatistics.org: “Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.” You can be proactive with the right support system. Actively look for warning signs by asking the questions below via Helpguide.org.

DOES YOUR PARTNER

  • Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Destroy your belongings?

EMOTIONAL

Emotional abuse is a covert and slightly passive aggressive form of abuse. Many spouses and partners begin to feel like they are crazy before they recognize these signs. It doesn’t just take physical acts to create a hostile environment. Words, orders, commands, demands, and criticism can also create a prisoner or hostage situation for the victim.

Signs to look for in a spouse via divorcesupport.about.com and womenshealth.gov:

  • Isolating a spouse from friends and family.
  • Discourage any independent activities such as work, taking classes or activities with friends.
  • Unfairly accuses their spouse of being unfaithful, esp. if she talks to a member of the opposite sex.
  • Expect her/him to partake in sexual activities that he/she is uncomfortable with to prove their love. Or, withhold sex as punishment instead of communicating openly their displeasure.
  • Openly humiliates and constantly criticize the spouses weight, their looks, they way they dress in front of others.
  • If the spouse does not give into the control they are threatened, harassed, punished and intimidated by the abuser.
  • Uses the children to gain control by undermining the other parent’s authority or threatening to leave and take the children.
  • Control all the financial decisions, refuse to listen to their partner’s opinion, withhold important financial information and make their spouse live on limited resources.
  • Make all major decisions such as where to live, how to furnish the home and what type of automobile to drive.
  • Controls how you spend your money.
  • Says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”

FINANCIAL

Forbes.com recently posted an amazingly insightful article regarding financial issues within domestic violence. In the article they pulled research from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. They found that a significant proportion of women who return to the relationship attribute their inability to deal with their finances as a major contributing factor, which is often enhanced by the fact that the abuser often has all of the economic and social standing and complete control over the family finances.

If you experience the following, you may be dealing with financial abuse from your partner:

  • Limits your ability to work outside of the home or control your career choices.
  • Hides financial documents or limit access to your financial accounts.
  • Hides incoming mail or prohibit you access to your mailbox.
  • Refuses to allow you access to bank accounts or allow your name to be on checking accounts or credit cards.
  • Has you on a monthly allowance for spending.
  • Tracks all of your purchases and control your spending.
  • Makes you feel as if you are financially irresponsible.
  • Forces you to cash out your 401K or other retirement accounts for living expenses
  • Hide purchases and assets from you