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More than Skin Deep: Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As an organization that helps survivors navigate the legal process to find safety, we stand with victims of domestic violence this month and every month.

We also recognize that domestic violence is more than just physical abuse. We wanted to share a few articles that highlight the abuses we don’t often see:

How to Identify Financial Abuse
Nearly every case of domestic violence involves some case of financial abuse. Like physical and verbal abuse, financial abuse is about power and control. As the article notes “Financial abuse involves controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources. As a result, those who are victimized financially may be prevented from working. They also may have their own money restricted or stolen by the abuser. And rarely do they have complete access to money and other resources. When they do have money, they often have to account for every penny they spend.

“Overall, the forms of financial abuse vary from situation to situation. Sometimes an abuser may use subtle tactics like manipulation while other abusers may be more overt, demanding and intimidating. In the end, the goal is always the same—to gain power and control in a relationship.”

This Viral List of 22 Boyfriend Rules is Full of Emotional Abuse Red Flags

Control can sometimes be dressed up with flowery language and emojis as this article in The Daily Dot highlights. However, controlling behavior is often a sign of emotional abuse. “The rules don’t just demonstrate an obsessive, dangerous jealousy over other women. They also explicitly name several friends of the boyfriend who he is no longer allowed to hang out with. One rule even bans speaking of some friends…”

Isolation allows an abuser to exert a greater level of control over the abused.

Which brings us to…

Isolation and Domestic Violence
This article from Break the Silence details how abusers isolate victims and what that looks like in practice. “Isolation can start subtly, such as the abuser telling their partner what activities they can join, checking in to see where they are at, at all times, or telling them to quit activities because the only thing that should matter is the relationship. They can also tell their partner to quit their job because it is taking away from the relationship. In these cases, a survivor may be completely dependent on their partner financially.”

We hope these resources help you start crucial conversations and recognize early warning signs. Stay tuned to learn more about Bread for the City’s Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project work as well as all of the other supports we offer to those dealing with household violence.

Bread for the City’s Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project is generously supported by the DC Bar Foundation and the Women’s Bar Association Foundation.

1 New comments

shanika1981 | Reply

Reading this article was interesting because I truly don’t think things are going to get better if we were married—but I don’t think they’d be worse. We’ve been in some pretty dark places already, and with a lot of communications I am better at understanding his depression.

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