As most of you are probably aware, the Super Bowl is this Sunday. I’m not sure if I’m going to watch it.
Yes, it has come as an insult to many a red-blooded American that I chose not to support the NFL this year. I’ve been increasingly annoyed by several things over the last couple of seasons (looking at you, Washington), but the proverbial straw that broke this TV viewer’s back was how Ray Rice’s assault of his wife (then fiancée) was handled. I have been told more than once that this is a ridiculous overreaction.
Given the rather large upcoming football game, I find this week’s #FeministFriday to be outstandingly appropriate:
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
Again with the overreacting! What does that actually have to do with football? Well, Ray Rice aside, in 2006 an eleven-year study concluded that the most drastic increases of reported domestic abuse took place after Monday Night Football in the city of the losing team.
But yes, I’m overreacting.
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It affects individuals of every community, regardless of race, economic status, religion, educational background, nationality, or age.
An estimated 1.3 million women and 435,000 men are the victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Females who are 18-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence, nearly triple the national average.
Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, as part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control, and the consequences of domestic violence can cross generations – boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
One of the biggest challenges of preventing abuse and helping victims is that most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police – it is estimated that only one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police; however, nearly one-third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner each year. It’s estimated that even less cases are reported by male victims due to the social stigma of being battered by a woman, though 86% of adult men who reported being physically assaulted were assaulted by another man.
What are the warning signs of a potential abuser?
Please note that while these warning signs are written with male pronouns about a heterosexual relationship, they apply to every gender and type of relationship.
- He speaks disrespectfully about former partners
- Very focused on his bitterness
- Brings it up inappropriately early in the relationship
- Is condescending or degrading when describing other women
- Characterizes himself as a victim of false accusations of abuse
- Says no one else has every understood him the way you do
- He is disrespectful towards you
- Puts you down
- Sneers at your opinions
- Is rude in front of others
- Excessively sarcastic or cutting
- He creates a sense of indebtedness
- Does favors you don’t want
- Puts on such a show of generosity you may feel uncomfortable
- He is possessive and jealous
- Dislikes you interacting with other men
- Displays anxiety about time you spend away from him
- Attempts to control conversations while you are together with others
- Expects you to change your habits and relationships to make him more comfortable
- He is self-centered
- Does most of the talking
- Listens poorly
- Chronically switches the topic of conversation back to himself
- Doesn’t understand or respect things that are different from what he does or is used to
- Nothing is ever his fault
- Blames something or someone for anything that goes wrong
- You become the target of blame with increasing frequency
- Makes promises he can’t keep
- Always has multiple excuses for disappointing you or behaving irresponsibly
- Constantly complains about “unfair” facts of life
- He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship
- Jumps into planning your future together without taking time to get to know you
- Pushes for commitment very early on
- Won’t respect your wishes to slow things down
- He pushes to isolate you
- Comes up for reasons not to see your friends or family
- Badmouths your friends or family in front of you
- May cause or get into altercations or arguments with your friends or family
- He uses sex as a weapon or a threat
- Doesn’t respect your feelings
- Pressures you for sex
- Says sex is the only way to prove that you really love him
- Uses “playful” force during sex
- May refuse to use or prevent the use of proper birth control
- He intimidates you when he is angry
- Gets too close, puts a finger in your face, or pokes you
- Pushes you, blocks your way, or restrains you
- Says that he’s just trying to get you to listen
- Raises his fist, towers over you, shouts at you, or behaves in any way that makes you flinch or feel afraid
- Makes vaguely threatening comments like, “you don’t want to make me mad”
- Drives recklessly or speeds
- Punches walls or kicks doors
- Throws things around, even if they don’t hit you
- He has double standards
- Gets angry or upset when you do certain things, but insists on doing similar things
- He has negative attitudes toward women
- Displays stereotypical beliefs about gender roles
- Believes traditional gender roles are rigid and non-negotiable
- Regularly makes sexist remarks or uses misogynistic insults
- He treats you differently around other people
- Puts on a show of treating you like royalty in front of others
- Is rude and cold when alone with you
- He appears to be attracted to vulnerability
- Attracted to women much younger or at a different maturity level, or to women that have had a recent traumatic experience
- Offers himself as a figure of support and guidance
It is severely important to understand that this is not an all or nothing scenario. Someone exhibiting one or two of these behaviors may be just as hazardous as someone with all of them.
If you recognize any of the above warning signs in your partner, or the partner of a loved one, seek support. Abusive relationships are rarely black and white, and are difficult to get out of, but 62% of women who reported having an abusive partner said that having the support of a friend, family member, or coworker helped them get through the relationship safely.
IF YOU NEED HELP
For more information or to get help, please call:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233
The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673
The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-866-331-9474
The National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453
Text HELP to 22522 for support from LoveIsRespect
Text TELLNOW to 85944 to make a $10 donation that will go toward keeping a domestic violence hotline open.
There’s a statement I’ve seen many times online by men attempting to undermine feminism, which goes along the lines of: “So if you want equality does that mean I can hit girls now?”
60% of women under the age of 25 have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
You’re already hitting us. The point of feminism is we’d like you to stop.
Please leave any questions or comments below, and see you next week!
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, www.ncadv.org
The Facts: Relationship Violence 2011 Statistics, www.glamour.com
Illegal Contact: Does watching football lead to domestic violence?, www.slate.com