Unlike the monsters we see roaming the streets on Halloween, these monsters don't disappear after one night of screams. They don't have pointy fangs, sharp claws, or blood dripping from their face. As Lundy Bancroft stated, "They have many good qualities, including times of kindness, warmth, and humor....[he/she] may simply not fit anyone's image of a cruel person...." However, don't let their compelling charm fool you. They are no less of a monster than Frankenstein or Dracula, and their wickedness is hidden beneath their charismatic nature.
Love can manifest in many different ways. Love can be shown by the outward things you do for your significant other such as opening their door, seeing if they made it home safe, making sure they have their seat belt on, or asking how their day was. Kissing their forehead, holding there hand, wrapping your arms around them to keep them warm, or giving them a peck on the check these are physical affections of love. Controlling you, degrading you, humiliating you, sexual coercion, or threatening you isn't outward signs of love. Hitting you in the face, grabbing your arms with force, pushing you against a wall, or anything that leaves a bruise on your skin isn't physical love. These are signs of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence is also known as intimate partner violence (IPV). The Office on Women's Health deems this to includes "physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, as well as sexual coercion and stalking by a current or former intimate partner." Based on this definition, it is not always physical violence but emotional as well. According Dr. Günnur Karakurt in Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships: The Role of Gender and Age, "[e]motional abuse can include verbal assault, dominance, control, isolation, ridicule, or use of intimate knowledge for degradation." Doctor Karakurt later addresses emotional abuse as the precursor to physical abuse.
Each year, over 10 million women and men are victims of intimate partner violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As for the specific numbers, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. Furthermore, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victim to severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Although the statistics argue that more female are victim more than males, researches believe that the numbers are incorrect, and males fall victim to the violence more frequently than females. However, because there is a stigmatization against domestic violence which limits people's ideology into believing that only women can be victims of domestic abuse, these researchers have been told their findings are inaccurate. It is because of this social stigma that intimate partner violence against men is less recognized than violence against women, which can cause men to be less likely to report it. Some researchers have even gone as far as saying that even the law enforcement statistics are inaccurate due to all the men who do not report abuse.
There have been many campaigns to help spread awareness on domestic violence such as Break the Silence and No More. However, an artist named Saint Hoax pushed the envelope with his campaign called Happy Never After. It depicts Disney princesses and princes as victims. On his website, there is photos of Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, and Cinderella with the caption reading, "When did he stop treating you like a princess?" Also, out there on the web is the same campaign but with princes such as Eric, John Smith, Hercules, and Aladdin. Its caption reads, "When did she stop treating you like a hero." This campaign sparked a wildfire because it showed happily ever after is not always the end of the story and anyone can be victim to domestic violence.
I was able to discuss with two of my friends about their abusive relationships. The first one is from a girl friend of mine who wants to remain anonymous. She experienced emotional abuse with two of her intimate partners. I asked her if she opened up to anyone and if she did or didn't why. She said she did with the first relationship because she wasn't sure at the time what to call it. She didn't realize that she was being emotionally manipulated. With her second relationship, she didn't tell anyone. Her reasoning was, "If I told someone it meant it was real. I would have to admit that he wasn't who I needed or wanted him to be. I wanted him to be a prince charming which he was to everyone but me." She has since broken up with her partner and found another relationship. Although these were in her past, they still have effects on her view of relationships.
My male friend also went through two relationships with intimate partner violence. One was a physical abuse while the second was emotional abuse. As he was telling me the logistics of the relationships, I noticed that what the researches were saying does hold true. Just as they theorized, he didn't tell anyone because "Men are always to blame. Woman are believed to be fragile and the victim, but truth is there are some woman who can be just as vile as the men are portrayed." He also noted that in his second relationship, he was emotionally abused by his partner who was threatening suicide if he left. After a while, he said it felt like he was having to "walk on thin ice". He eventually did leave and find another relationship. Although these relationships were years ago, he still will find that their abuse has forever affected how he sees new relationships.