Amelia recently sent me a link to a Tumblr that will absolutely gut you. It’s called When Women Refuse and it collects news article about women who became victims of violence after they tried to leave a male partner or rejected sexual advances. We know that violence is fundamentally about control and therefore the most dangerous time during an abusive relationship is when a person tries to leave. All too often, children and other bystanders are injured or killed, too. The statistics about abusive relationships show that they are frighteningly common. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in four women and one in seven men over age 18 will be the victims of severe physical violence during their lifetime. Statistics also show that half of both men and women will experience “psychological aggression” by a partner during their lifetime. Stereotypes about what an “abused woman” is supposed to look like don’t do us any good because victims are all around us. They are our neighbors, our cousins, our sisters, our coworkers, our friends. Abusive relationships thrive in part because over time, the pattern of the abuse becomes normal. The abuse starts with smaller areas of control and then escalates until it becomes reality, which the person on the inside may not even see. But even if we have not been in a textbook abusive relationship per se, I’m sure many of us have had moments with partner or a friend where he or she did something that felt wrong.
In the spirit of #YesAllWomen — which is drawing attention to the physical and sexual violence all women experience — I want to share some warning signs that a partner or other person does not respect you, your boundaries, or your personal space. These are all anonymous, real world examples from me, my friends and co-workers. Keep reading »