Terry and Alex dated for two years, moved in for one year, and married the next year. They had problems like any couple, but after they moved in together, their arguments became violent. Their friends and family had no idea until it was too late. Intimate Partner Violence (a.k.a. Domestic Violence) is not a relationship problem, it is a crime.
Power and control tactics exploit and abuse. This violence does not have to be physical. Often these tactics are accompanied by threats that prevent targets from reporting it and convince them that they are helpless against their abuser. This mental and emotional torture takes its toll in ways that insidiously destroy the relationship, both people within it, and bystanders. The fallout is incalculable.
What can be done?
Many states have very strict laws to prosecute domestic violence, but usually are reactionary to physical violence only. Domestic Violence shelters and victim advocacy opportunities generally require the victim to come forward, but the most dangerous time for victims is when they attempt to leave the abusive relationship. As this problem perpetuates in our communities, concerned community partners need to take a stand against domestic violence.
Where do we start?
To address domestic violence, we must first learn how to identify these damaging power and control tactics. By letting victims know they are not alone and that their abuse is not okay, we can empower individuals to seek safety and put a stop to the violence. In doing so, we take an active role in saying Enough is Enough in our community.