Early signs of dating violence
Abuse rarely stays the same, but usually increases both in severity and frequency over a period of time.
In severe cases, domestic violence can lead to the victim of abuse being killed by the abuser.
Domestic violence affects people from all social, racial and financial backgrounds.
Many victims of abuse comment on how their partner is like a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ – seems fine and lovely one moment or in public, but presents a completely different personality in private or at a different time.Since abuse and violence within an intimate relationship are also a huge betrayal of trust, the survivor of abuse will often also have difficulty learning to trust someone else and open up emotionally for fear of being betrayed again.It would be nice to know that all abuser walk around with a big A for 'abuser' on their forehead, are easily discernable by anyone 'normal' and always comply with the stereotypical image so often portrayed in the media.Often the victim of abuse will spend hours trying to work out what is causing the abuse, what makes their partner abusive.Some people believe that abuse is only a case of bad anger management on the part of the perpetrator, and no doubt in some cases the abuser does have a problem dealing with anger in a non-destructive manner, but on the whole the reasons or causes of abuse are much more deep-rooted and complicated than a problem with anger or bad moods.Generally where one form of abuse exists, it is within the context of other forms of abuse.Hence a perpetrator of physical violence will also subject his victim to emotional and verbal abuse.Those who have been abused often experience long-term feelings and reactions, which can cause a lot of distress, including flashbacks, sudden feelings of anxiety, an inability to concentrate or feelings of unreality.These reactions and feelings are a normal reaction to a traumatic event and in their extreme form – especially where accompanied by depression and suicidal ideation – be considered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which requires medical assistance and support.A feeling of guilt about the abuse is almost universal – the victim of abuse believing, and being told by the perpetrator, that they or their actions are the cause of the abuse.This has a double effect: it enables the abuser to continue to feel justified in continuing their destructive behaviour, as the victim takes responsibility for the abuse, and also allows the victim to continue to believe that they can change the situation and can in some way control the abuse and stop it.