Posted: Oct 24, 2012 8:31 PM by Erin Schattauer
Updated: Oct 25, 2012 9:48 AM
BOZEMAN - With an estimated one in four women and about one in 10 men experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lives, domestic violence is something that affects everyone.
While most of us might picture the physical scars when we think of domestic violence, oftentimes the abuse is something that can't be seen.
Women with bruised, bloody faces are usually the images associated with domestic violence. But that is not always the case.
Domestic violence is not only described as physical abuse; it is also emotional and mental. Because these don't leave any physical scars, victims are sometimes confused and unsure if it's something that is happening to them.
Autumn Benedetti, the client advocate at HAVEN, says one red flag is the cycle of violence. It starts with a "honeymoon phase."
"Everything feels good and fine. And, usually, in the beginning of a relationship, that's how it is. Nobody's going to get into a relationship with someone that treats them poorly in the beginning," Benedetti said.
Next there's the tension building phase.
"We call it the 'walking on eggshells' kind of phase where you might notice that you feel unsettled in the relationship. And eventually, that leads to be a big episode or an event that sometimes can be physical violence or sometimes can be a huge outburst and might start as an argument that might seem like something every couple would have," Benedetti said.
Eventually, in an abusive relationship, that becomes the norm.
"In an abusive relationship those honeymoon phases disappear completely and you end up having a lot of tension building then a major impact. A lot of tension building then a major impact," Benedetti said.
Another red flag is the control factor.
"Usually, the aggressor is very controlling of finances, emotions. It can look like sexual control. It can look like emotional control, physical control, control over your children, your job, what you wear," she said.
Victims often feel isolated, overly criticized by their abusers, intimidated, threatened and often their abusers shift blame onto the victims, making them think if they had done something differently, then the abuse wouldn't happen. Sometimes it turns physical, but sometimes it never does.
If this sounds like something you're experiencing you should talk to a friend or call HAVEN in Bozeman anytime on the crisis line at 586-4111 or Safe Space in Butte on the crisis line at 782-8511. Both of those organizations staff their crisis lines24 hours a day for anyone who thinks they may be in an abusive relationship or anyone who knows someone who is.
Click here to visit HAVEN's website and learn more about the signs of abuse and resources if you think you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence. Click here for more information on Safe Space in Butte.