You may know someone who has been abused, and you can't understand why she doesn't leave. Perhaps she has kids and doesn't know how to provide for them on her own. She may be so ashamed that no one knows the extent of the abuse and suffers in silence.
He may be someone powerful or well-liked in the community, and she is afraid no one would believe her.
I believed him when he told me that he was the best I would ever find and that I was not sexy or desirable.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that he was talking about I thought I knew all about abusive relationships before I found myself in the middle of one.
The abuse may be extreme enough so that the victim loses a job because of absenteeism or decreased productivity while at work, or is prevented from working at all.
In its most violent form, domestic violence will involve actual physical and sexual violence, kidnapping of children, torture or murder of pets, etc. Rape is a crime involving forced sexual activity, usually including sexual penetration, against the will of the victim.
"I was at a Super Bowl party and playing on the floor with some kids, and one of them jumped on my neck," I lied. The doctor glanced at the fading finger imprints around my throat and the angry green and black bruises on my arm.
My colleague took my hand and looked me in the eye.
I thought I didn't fit into the "stereotypical" mold of what a domestic violence survivor looks like. I tell the story to help my nieces, my friends, my colleagues, myself.
I'm sure that once upon a time, I looked down on women who were in abusive relationships and found them weak. And I didn't tell my closest friends and family for years about what happened — most of them not until after he left me to move in with another woman four years into our marriage. People are often baffled by how beautiful, intelligent women fall in love with (and even marry) abusers. It begins with a sarcastic putdown, and is followed up quickly by an apology.