October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the statistics are frightening. Yesterday's story covered some of the resources that are available to people who have been victimized, as well as children who have seen it in their homes. Today, we will look at some of the ways to identify abuse. Abuse can be subtle, or it can start out that way before it escalates.

Here are some of the ways to spot those red flags that can signal abuse:

  • Your partner has hit you, beat you, or strangled you in the past, this should be a definitive sign, nobody should raise their hands to their partner.
  • Your partner is possessive, they tell you who you can spend time with, as well as isolating you from your friends and family.
  • Your partner is jealous, this is overt jealousy, you can't be with anyone else or your partner gets very upset, this goes hand in hand with being possessive.
  • Your partner puts you down, and this can be the start of seeing those red flags. It's one thing to joke around, completely another if they are constantly putting you down and making you feel as if they are the only ones who could ever love/want you.
  • Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time.) Very important to note that it is not always a daily or weekly episode, this can happen very rarely and it still counts as abuse.

Being on the outside of an abusive relationship makes people wonder why anyone would stay. It's not an easy answer, and it's not as simple as just packing up to leave. What makes this worse is that women are 70 times more likely to be killed by their partner in the weeks following their leaving than at any other time. Many people feel like they can't leave, their self-esteem is gone, and they feel like nobody will believe them, or they blame themselves for everything that has gone wrong in the relationship.

If you see abuse or know of someone who may be in an abusive relationship, let someone know. There is help out there. "Love Shouldn't Hurt," Melissa Holmes.

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