October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

   Counseling & Testing Center | Posted on October 18, 2018

Identifying and Responding to an Abusive Relationship

Here are some signs of an abusive relationship. Your partner may be abusive if he or she:

  • Constantly accuses you of having an affair
  • Bites, slaps, punches or kicks you
  • Throws things at you or breaks objects during an argument
  • Belittles you in front of your friends and family
  • Makes you feel afraid to express your opinions or wishes
  • Monitors who you speak to and whom you go out with
  • Blames you for his/her appearance
  • Threatens you or swears at you
  • Criticizes all you do
  • Disrespects you, your family and your friends
  • Refuses to let you have your own money or handle your finances
  • Forces you to have sex
  • Demonstrates extreme possessiveness or jealousy

It is very important not to blame the victim. Avoid accusatory or dismissive statements such as:

  • “I'm sure he/she didn`t really mean to hurt you”
  • “It's no big deal; you'll get over it”
  • “What did you do to provoke it?”
  • “Don`t tell anyone about this; it's too embarrassing”

Instead, use comforting statements such as these:

  • “I'm so sorry you had to go through this; no one should have to hurt.”
  • “It's not your fault; you didn`t do anything to deserve this.”
  • “I'm here for you whenever you feel like sharing and praying.”
  • “I'm glad you shared with me; together we can find you some help.”

A victim of abuse may stay with his/her abuser for the following reasons:

  • Fearful for his/her life
  • He/she will lose his/her children
  • Embarrassment
  • Feels it is his/her Christian duty to keep the marriage together no matter what
  • Guilt for what may happen to the abuser if he/she leaves
  • Feels responsible for abuser`s actions (deserved abuse)
  • He/she may not get support from family and friends
  • Abuse may get worse if he/she tries to leave
  • Fearful about surviving financially without spouse
  • Hopes that the abuser may change

If you suspect someone you know is being abused:

  • Call the authorities and report the abuse
  • Find out about abuse prevention agencies in your area; call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and initiate the help needed
  • Listen without interrupting and don't feel as though you have to offer advice
  • Encourage him/her to seek professional counseling
  • Don't criticize the abuser
  • Offer to be a prayer partner
  • Invite him/her to join you on outings without bringing up the abuse situation
  • Keep your word and frequently follow-up to see how he/she is doing

If you have been abused, help is available to you!

  • Contact the authorities, your pastor, doctor, family member or friend and let them know that you have been abused
  • Call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to get help and to find out about the laws in your area
  • The abuse may have left you with many emotional scars; try to schedule regular counseling sessions with a licensed therapist
  • You may have been hurt physically; ask your doctor for a thorough examination
  • Ask someone you feel comfortable with to be your prayer partner—to pray with you daily and offer encouragement whenever you feel weak or lonely


Call the confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline for referrals to resources in your area.

USA: 800-799-SAFE [7233]

Canada: 800-363-9010


Counseling & Testing Center, Bell Hall 123, 269-471-3470


Campus Safety, 269-471-3321


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