English: Colin Henderson's winning design will...

English: Colin Henderson’s winning design will be displayed on T-shirts and other items at this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Rally, which is scheduled for Oct. 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women.  Though we read the statistics and the stories, see the pictures and may even encounter the abuser, we often ignore the red flags.  Red flags are those signs or warnings that our intuition and/or gut tell us not to ignore.  However, sadly they are usually ignored.  Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.  Statistics show that every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

Domestic can show up in a relationship in many different forms: physical, financial, emotional, verbal or sexual.  Most times the red flags show up in how a person communicates and even their past relationship history will tell a story.  I have come up with a list of (4) red flags you should never ignore.

Isolation:  He wants you all to himself.  In the early stages of dating, double dating or even hanging out with a large group has its benefits.  You can see how he or she interacts with your friends.  Also, your friends may see something in him or her that you don’t.  If he or she makes excuses about interacting with your friends/family or tries to keep you from interacting with them, an alarm should go off.  Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”  Recognize the pattern before it becomes a vicious cycle.

“He made every excuse in the book as to why he didn’t want to be around my friends or family.  Then when I made plans for just myself he would pick an argument so that I would cancel.  In the beginning, I was flattered that he wanted to spend so much time with me.  However, I soon realized it wasn’t that he wanted me around; he just didn’t want me around anyone else.”

Projection:  “A defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or person in the outside world.”  Oftentimes, a partner will accuse the other for doing or engaging in activities that they are not engaging in.  For example, if you do not answer the phone when they call, they will accuse you of being with someone else or cheating.  In actuality, the person who is accusing or projecting is the one actually engaged in such activities.

Communication:  How a person communicates with their family, mother, sisters and friends can tell a lot about them.  If a man is disrespectful to his mother, sister or the mother of his children, he is going to be disrespectful to you.  If he uses vulgar language in casual conversation, it will only get worse in a disagreement or argument.

Is his communication honest?  have you allowed little white lies to go ignored?  If he can sell you on the lie, it will keep you from seeking out the truth.  You want the truth; the truth sets free.  You can not make an informed decision about a relationship without enough facts, so move on.  “I will never let a man hit me!” Well, truth be told some of us have been hit by his words and punched by his lies. Domestic violence is more than physical and the red flags will show up in how he/she communicates.”

Lack of Accountability:  You are not responsible for anyone’s behavior except your own.  “You made me do it.”  Is not holding oneself accountable.  The irony is that most domestic violent relationship are a result of someone’s need for power and control of another person and they lack control over themselves.

Take the necessary steps to get to know someone, pay attention to the red flags, make a decision and stick to it.  Domestic violence can take on many forms: physical, verbal, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.  Communication is key or the lack thereof.  Ask questions and if you don’t feel comfortable asking you should feel even less comfortable not knowing.  Make the decision to move on.  What are some red flags that you have witnessed and how did it impact your decision about the relationship?

“I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

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