Trigger Warning: This article discusses signs of domestic abuse as well as statistics concerning it.

Every minute, 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States; that is over 10 million men and women over the course of one year. That number does is enormous, but it does not even encompass the vast number of people (48.8% of men and 48.4% of women) who experience emotional abuse by an intimate partner. In the era of #metoo and self-empowerment, there are still many men and women who are unable to speak out against their abuser for a long list of reasons. Many people are not even aware that what they are experiencing is domestic abuse because they have either never learned the signs or the behaviors are just so common to them that they cannot even tell the difference anymore.

There are five different types of common domestic abuse: physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, financial, and digital. When someone says "abuse" most people immediately think of physical abuse; they picture a black eye or a bruised wrist. But abuse can take many forms and none are less legitimate than others; abuse is abuse. There are many warning signs that heavily imply the presence of domestic abuse; here are a few of them pertaining to each type of abuse:

Physical Abuse

  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
  • Pulling hair, choking, punching, slapping, kicking, etc.
  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
  • Driving dangerously with you in the car
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Using weapons against you

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

  • Continually insulting you
  • Trying to isolate you from your family/friends
  • Telling you what you can and cannot do
  • Putting you down in front of other people
  • Preventing you from leaving your home
  • Threatening you
  • Punishing you by withholding affection
  • Humiliating you on purpose
  • Gaslighting (defined as manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity)
  • Refusing to trust you
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Attempting to control your appearance (makeup, clothing, haircut, etc.)
  • Cheating
  • Telling you no one will ever love you as much as they do

Sexual Abuse

  • Forcing you to dress in a provocative or "sexy" way that you are not comfortable with
  • Insulting you sexually/calling you sexual names
  • Forcing/manipulating you into engaging in sexual acts
  • Holding you down during sex
  • Demanding sex after hurting you
  • Demanding sex as a way to "make something up" to them
  • Hurting you with weapons/objects during sex
  • Forcing you to watch pornography
  • Purposefully trying to give you an STD
  • Sabotaging methods of birth control during or before intercourse (taking away BC pills, poking holes in a condom, etc.)

Financial Abuse

  • Forbidding you from working
  • Monitoring your spending habits
  • Taking your paycheck from you
  • Stealing money from you
  • Forcing you to buy them things

Digital Abuse

  • Stalks you using social media
  • Tracks your location using your phone
  • Puts you down on public forums (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and/or demands them in return
  • Looks through your phone or computer without your permission
  • Steals or forces you to give them the passwords to your phone, computer, social media accounts
  • Circulates humiliating or explicit images of you digitally

Domestic abuse affects people of every age, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and economic background. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men, aged 18 and older, in the US have been the victim of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. That is a staggeringly large amount. Particularly at college, the prevalence of domestic abuse and rape are horrifying. 43% of dating college women reported experiencing abusive behavior from an intimate partner and date rape among college students accounts for 35% of all attempted rapes.

Domestic abuse is by no means in the past; it is something that is occurring right in front of us that needs to stop. Abuse is abuse no matter what form it takes; don't turn a blind eye to it because you don't want to "get in the middle" of someone's relationship or your own. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website to call or chat online with them. You are never alone.