Last year I expended much energy on police brutality. While this is a necessary conversation for us to be having, another one of far greater importance awaits. Throughout this year we will focus on domestic violence, but more specifically relationship violence –yes, I just coined this phrase. Domestic violence is a term used by police and courts to characterize, and separate, violence from purely physical assault leading up to murder. However, you don’t have to beat your spouse, or significant other, to commit domestic violence. Emotional and verbal abuse are just as damaging, if not more so. Bruises heal: emotional wounds, and scars to the human psychosis do not.
Our journey through the mire of relationship violence begins with snippets of my own story. Gasp! A man has experience with violence, blasphemy. This is a women’s topic. In a 12-month study by the CDC over 40% of victims of severe physical violence are men. According to another study nearly the exact same amount of women emotionally abuse as men. Please, place you hand underneath your jaw and lift up, this way we can continue. At 6’ 4” 200lbs I’m more physically imposing than most, so I have not experienced physical violence. However, I did spend upwards to two years in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is not shocking as I grew up in a household with an emotionally abusive father –in all fairness, he has greatly matured in this area, and indeed only learned these traits from his own father whom we must assume learned him from his.
My regular followers know that from this point onward they are only going to get facts and statistics that support my argument. The personal stories are inside my podcast. The 2010 study by the CDC discovered that 5,365,000 men compared to 4,741,000 women had been subject to physical violence by an intimate partner. We should take a moment to discuss why physical violence is unacceptable to our society. Most abhor the use of violence because it often preys upon the weak. This is the very reason women receive more attention, as they are thought of being incapable of defending themselves. Yet, to carry this argument out logically would mean that physical duels between two equally matched parties would be a humane way to settle arguments. Though, the consensus is that we are more advanced –or, if you allow, evolved. Physical force is a last resort to settle disagreements. In a relationship the resort to physical violence is unnecessary, barbaric, and convincingly ineffective. However, physical violence does not appear to be the number one weapon.
Psychological abuse as defined by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “is caused by verbal abuse, acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics.” If this sounds like a relationship you are in then you should get out immediately. Often the consequence of jail for beating someone is enough to deter the action. However, it becomes increasingly more difficult to accuse someone of psychological abuse when the primary evidence is a mind, thus you must rely on testimony. It is also much easier to psychologically abuse and condition your victim to believe you are always in the right. This may be why “48.5% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.” That statistic, again from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is staggering. It is virtually dead even between men and women who experience psychological abuse in an intimate relationship.
We are out of time to discuss this topic, and will return to it in the future. There are steps that can be taken to help fix this problem. Relationship Violence is potentially the biggest human rights abuse issue we face today. Thanks to non-profits and brave women and men the conversation has begun to reach the ears of more and more people. The task is large, but not insurmountable. If you believe you are in a relationship of violence I encourage you to get out, I have listed three resources to aid you: