When on the look-out for signs that a relationship is abusive, it’s common to watch for crystal clear signs of struggle and pain. But what about looking for signs that are a little more subtle? Many instances of relationship abuse go unrecorded — not because the individuals stay silent, but because no one else has any idea.
There is one subtle sign (see page 6), however, that should set off an alarm that someone may have been a victim of abuse. And it will make you question everything you know about relationships.
For starters, what counts as abuse?
An abusive relationship is when one partner forces unwarranted harm on the other. The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness explains that relationship abuse takes on many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.
The terrifying statistics
The prevalence of abuse in relationships is shocking. According to Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. The same report says that 48% of abusive incidences occur when the victim is in their own home.
How often is relationship abuse reported?
Per a U.S. News report from 2015, instances of domestic violence have decreased over the last few decades. That being said, they report that many cases still go unreported. A shocking report revealed that a whopping 70% of domestic violence instances actually go unreported.
The relationships most prone to abuse
The same U.S. News report states that relationship abuse is more common in dating than it is in established marriages. It is also common on college campuses, with 19% of undergraduate women reporting attempted assault.
Who the most common targets are
Young women are reportedly the most common target of relationship abuse. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women 18-years-old and older have been victims of physical violence by their partner. About 77% of females ages 18 to 24 and 76% aged 25 to 34 have been assaulted by the same intimate partner more than once.
The 1 little-known sign
Perhaps the most terrifying thing about an abusive relationship is that the victim can’t always identify that they are in one. And, as Psychology Today explains, we don’t always see the subtle signs of abuse because we are in that relationship. “Relationships fill our needs,” the article says. “And, when our needs are being met, we don’t necessarily have an imperative to take a look at how they are being met.”
Where to get help
Again, many cases of relationship abuse go unreported. But when they are reported, there is plenty of help. There are many phone numbers and websites out there that specialize in different types of relationship abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a chat forum in addition to multiple phone numbers so that you can seek aid at any time.