When Abuse Turns Deadly

And How to Get Help When Suffering from Domestic Violence


an example of when abuse turns deadlyIntimate relationships are a central part of our lives. A relationship might evolve as a happy surprise, or something deliberately and lovingly nurtured over time. But, sometimes, even a loving partnership can turn into domestic violence. You may not notice it at first, but then something happens. Then something else happens. Excuses are made, and apologies follow. He (or she) promises it will never happen again, but it does – and then, it gets worse.

Not All Abuse is Obvious

If you question whether you are suffering domestic violence, you probably are. It’s important to know the signs of domestic violence and the characteristics of abusers, because not all abuse is obvious, nor is it limited to physical abuse like hitting or pushing. Intimate partner violence also includes intimidation, threats, stalking, taking or damaging your belongings, financial control, driving recklessly when you’re with them, pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol, sexual abuse or coercion, sabotaging birth control, bullying, and countless other tactics.

Abuse Can Be Deadly – The Statistics Don’t Lie

Every minute, 20 people are victimized by domestic violence. That’s more than 10 million people affected every year. Intimate partner violence can, and does, turn deadly. Every year, 4,000 women are killed by a current or former partner. Of all murder-suicides in America, 72% involve an intimate partner, and 20% of victims were family members or friends who tried to intervene. Relationship abuse is serious. Do not wait and hope it’s just going to get better.

Common Feelings

If you are suffering from intimate partner violence, there is nothing you have done to warrant it. Abuse is not your fault. Your abuser is solely responsible for their actions. Depression, anxiety, and fear are debilitating. You might be angry. You might cry a lot. You might feel disconnected or numb. You might feel like you are in danger all the time.

A Plan to Leave

To someone on the outside, leaving your relationship may seem like the simple answer, but it can be far from simple. The desperation to leave is overwhelming, but the barriers to freedom may seem insurmountable. You may feel trapped and helpless, but leaving suddenly might be dangerous for you, your children, or other loved ones. You know your partner best, so it is important to think carefully and make a plan.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

In the US, call the National Domestic Hotline anytime at (800) 799-7233 or chat online.

If you are considering leaving an abusive situation, but you don’t have the resources to do so, non-profits like No Silence No Violence can help support you while you make the transition.

See the International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a list of global resources, or for resources in your state.

To find a shelter or legal support in your area of the US, see Womenslaw.org.

Intimate partner violence is not your fault. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve a safe, happy life. Don’t wait until it is too late. You are not alone. There are people waiting to help. Reach out today.

Jessica Yaffa, LLC is dedicated to reducing abuse on a global scale. We offer workshops, keynote presentations and training sessions aimed at helping individuals and organizations recognize, address and reduce intimate partner violence.