Ira Lipman, author of How to Be Safe: Protect Yourself, Your Home, Your Family, and Your Business from Crime says that spousal battering clusters more on the weekends, during vacations and holidays, and that between 60-80% of batterers were exposed to abuse as children, either having been beaten themselves or seen one of their parents constantly beaten (Lipman 176). So, there may be signs right away for some of you that the person you are with may have tendencies to be an abuser.
Other characteristics of a batterer is that they are mostly male, tend to be insecure, frustrated, possessive and extremely jealous. Abuse is rarely a one-time occurrence and the risk factors increase if the batterer is:
- Does not have a high school diploma
- Is between 18-30 years old
- Has a history of bullying behavior
- Is low income – below the poverty line
While many women are attracted to the strength projected by some alpha-dominant males, (particularly those that bully others), believing that that strength can protect them, they are often shocked when that same anger and strength are turned against them.
Early warning signs can include: hypermasculine behavior such as declaring specific male and female roles and making all household decisions; attempts to isolate and prevent the woman from spending time with family and friends; exercising financial control; threats to children, pets; insults; has an explosive temper – and the number one indicator of all, has already hit her (Lipman 177-178). Domestic violence tends to increase over time (Lipman 178) – so no, it’s not “going to get better.”
Many battered women don’t leave their situation because they are emotionally and financially dependent on their abuser and if children are involved the woman may feel that they will be in danger (Lipman 179). Lipman offers some strategies for getting out of the situation (all from Lipman page 180):
- Put money, important documents, car keys in a secure location so you can have immediate access to them when its time to leave
- Locate the nearest shelter or make arrangements to go to a friends house
- Plan the escape with your children – don’t leave them behind
- If attacked, defend yourself to the best of your ability – after the assault, call police and seek medical help
- If you are hospitalized, get the names of doctors, nurses, paramedics, etc., that treated you so that you can call them to testify later if needed
Remember, you are NOT the cause of the abuse, he is. You should not have to tolerate it. You are worthwhile and there really are good people out there besides this douche bag (okay, Lipman didn’t say that, I’m ad libbing here). You are not alone and you deserve a life of safety, security and happiness (Lipman 181). If you are an abuser and are reading this, get help. Help is available for you too. It’s not too late.
Lipman, Ira A. How to Be Safe: Protect Yourself, Your Home, Your Family, and Your Business from Crime. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Association, 2011. Print.