When you're devoted to someone who abuses you, it can be confusing, terrifying and heartbreaking. You may always be on edge, unsure whether to expect a loving gesture, a harsh criticism or physical violence from someone who used to be kind.
Many people who experience domestic abuse blame themselves or feel embarrassed, ashamed and alone.
If you're abused, it's important to know it isn't your fault, and you aren't alone. Domestic violence is a serious health problem, and you can get help.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic abuse may take many forms, including:
- Physical violence.
- Sexual violence.
- Emotional and/or psychological abuse.
- Economic abuse.
- Technological abuse.
- Medical abuse.
- Abuse threats.
You may not realize some aspects of your relationship you've grown accustomed to may be abusive, such as:
- Constant criticism.
- Accusations you're cheating.
- Isolation from friends or relatives.
- Monitoring and tracking you through technology.
- Being subjected to drastic mood changes.
- Having your special things (clothing, jewelry, photos) destroyed.
- Threats of violence against you, your loved ones or your abuser themselves.
- Physical or sexual assault.
- Having no access to your bank accounts.
- Being kept from seeing your doctor or getting/taking birth control.
- Threats to share private information/pictures online.
- Receiving gifts or apologies after an outburst or violence.
- Hearing that something like that will never happen again.
There has been an increase in the frequency and severity of domestic violence during the pandemic. The pandemic itself didn't cause intimate partner violence, but it added many stressors to everyday life that caused some people to be more abusive.
These stressors include:
- Financial issues.
- Increased usage of drugs and alcohol.
- Being unable to leave home when a situation escalated during lockdowns.
- Other stressors related to the pandemic.
How We Can Help
Recognizing you're a victim of domestic violence can be hard. But it isn't hard to recognize you don't deserve this treatment. It isn't your fault, and you aren't alone, even if it feels that way. We can help.
The Luminis Health Abuse and Domestic Violence Program helps people who are experiencing intimate partner abuse. We offer confidential, professional help. We listen and provide you with the support, guidance and compassion you need, plus resources to help you reclaim your life.
Our team visits patients' bedsides in our unit and can follow up in person or by phone. Additionally, when a doctor suspects an abusive relationship, we respond to physician referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, typically within an hour.
We offer a weekly trauma recovery support group that focuses on strategies to manage symptoms. A social worker and a psychologist from the Abuse and Domestic Violence Program run the group. It meets on Wednesday evenings at our Luminis Health J. Kent McNew Family Medical Center. Anyone is welcome to come whenever they are able. For more information, call 443-481-1209.
Phone numbers for victims of domestic abuse
We're ready to listen. Call our Abuse and Domestic Violence Program today at 443-481-1209 for confidential, professional help. Please know it may take up to 24 hours for a response.
If you're in a life-threatening, emergency situation, call 911 or National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
Other resources include:
- Women's Law Center.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- RAINN, National Sexual Assault Hotline — 800-656-HOPE (4673).
- Love is Respect — 1-866-331-9474 or text “love is" to 22522.