As mentioned in a previous blog, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In my practice, I work with Dane County domestic violence victims not only while their case is pending, but in some instances, for many months prior. Long-term physical, emotional, verbal, or economic abuse often leaves the victim feeling fearful and damages self-esteem.
Victims are routinely told that the abuse is their fault, that they are crazy, or are outright threatened with severe consequences if they report the abuse. The abuser often can treat the victim well for a period of time, only to revert to abusive behavior. The victim’s confusion can manifest in justifying behavior, and great difficulty acknowledging the abuse that is often apparent to friends and relatives.
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Program developed a tool to help victims identify abusive behavior. If you have experienced domestic violence, or are wondering if your situation fits, I highly recommend viewing the tool. It can be found at http://www.theduluthmodel.org/pdf/PowerandControl.pdf. I would be happy to consult with you, confidentially, if you are concerned about domestic violence in your life, or the life of someone close to you.