There has been a lot of talk on the FSU campus recently about domestic violence, which, if you don’t know, is defined as a pattern of coercive behavior used by one partner in an intimate relationship to control the actions, thoughts, and beliefs of the other partner. The dynamic of power and control is gained through humiliation, intimidation, fear, intentional physical, verbal, emotional, economic and/or sexual abuse. Domestic/partner violence often starts with acts of jealousy, possessiveness and comments and attitudes that lower self-esteem. Abuse can and does escalate, and some victims are killed by their abusers.
Domestic/partner violence affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, ages, religions, cultures, genders and sexual orientations. No one is immune. Many people have experienced domestic/partner violence but you may not know it because their scars may not be easily seen.
For instance, I grew up in a home where domestic violence regularly occurred. It was unpredictable and often very scary. No one in my family talked about it. The police were called, but nothing helped. Often, I felt helpless and alone and feared for my safety and the safety of my family members. We never called it domestic violence, but that’s what it was. It wasn’t funny or fun. Like so many of us who experience adversity, it left scars that are not easily seen.
I am one of the lucky ones, though. I got out alive. I had resources and people available to me that helped me and encouraged me to thrive. Many people who experience domestic/partner violence are not so lucky. If you, or someone you love, is in a domestic/partner violence situation, help and resources are available. Please reach out to a friend, family member or professional. The FSU Counseling Center is here if you need us. 508-626-4640