domestic violence concept

Domestic Violence: How to Safely Leave an Abusive Relationship

Every relationship has its struggles, many of which can be addressed through open communication and respect. Domestic violence, however, is the exception. There is no excuse for abuse in relationships, nor is there any need for you to tolerate it.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over 10 million men and women are physically abused by a domestic partner in the US every year. This pattern shows that domestic violence is not just common but is common enough that it can happen to you or someone that you know. Likewise, domestic violence can affect anyone of any gender, age, status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality. If you feel that you’re in an abusive relationship, there is help. First, however, you should recognize the signs of abuse. 

Signs of Abuse in Relationships

Many people may not recognize that they are in an abusive relationship. Abuse comes in many forms, including subtle cases like psychological or emotional abuse. Furthermore, if someone doesn’t recognize that their partner is abusive, violent behavior can continue, or even worsen. 

The NCADV defines domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.” Here are the signs that you may be in such a relationship:

  • Your partner repeatedly attempts to belittle or intimidate you
  • They have total control over your finances
  • They’re jealous of friends, and family members, or even coworkers who spend time with you
  • They discourage you from interacting with other people (usually people that are of the same gender as your partner)
  • They follow your every move and demand details of your activities at all times
  • You feel forced into sexual intimacy with them or others
  • They have damaged your property
  • You feel forced to use drugs or alcohol
  • They sabotage your work or school responsibilities
  • Your partner has intentionally caused you physical harm in any way
  • They threaten to hurt you, the people you love, your children, and/or your pets

While this list doesn’t include every single possible example of abuse, as domestic abuse takes many forms, these are just some of the more common ways in which partners can perform domestic violence. 

Choosing to Move On

If your partner is abusing you, it is not your fault. You deserve respect and you also deserve to feel safe in your home. Therefore, if you recognize any of the above signs of an abusive relationship, it’s time to move on. 

Just be aware that many partners may attempt to stalk, control, harass, or even threaten their victims, especially if they sense that they’re losing control over the relationship. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from leaving the relationship. Instead, take action to leave your relationship safely. 

There are several safe steps that you can take, including staying with a loved one, going to a domestic violence shelter in your city, or calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). An advocate on this free, confidential hotline can provide detailed advice for leaving your relationship safely–advice that’s specific to your exact situation and the abuse from which you’ve suffered. In addition, you can seek out legal assistance.

Seeking Legal Help

Contacting a domestic violence lawyer is a safe step toward leaving your relationship. Some family lawyers specialize in issues like domestic abuse and are trained to recognize the signs of abuse. They can help take serious legal steps toward protecting you from an abusive partner.

If you’re suffering from domestic violence, you deserve help. The Law Office of Paul Bowen can intervene on your behalf, starting with a domestic violence injunction. An injunction will prevent an individual from seeing, interacting with, or performing actions against you. This action is a major step toward getting you to safety and ending a harmful relationship. Call us today at (727) 773-1554 to learn more and to get a powerful attorney on your side.