Domestic Abuse Is Widespread Problem
Domestic abuse by a spouse or intimate partner knows no age or ethnic boundaries. Domestic abuse can occur during a relationship or after it has ended. A common pattern of domestic abuse is that the perpetrator alternates between violent, abusive behavior and apologetic behavior with apparently heartfelt promises to change. The abuser may even seem to be pleasant most of the time (disguised as a healthy relationship), and therein lies the appeal of the abuser and the dilemma of the person being abused.
The signs of a healthy relationship include dignity, trust and support, nonthreatening behavior, shared responsibility, economic partnership, negotiation, and fairness.
The dignity of both partners is built up in a relationship based on respect. Both partners listen to each other non-judgmentally, value each other's opinions, and are emotionally affirming and understanding. Trust and support are vital to healthy relationships. Respecting rights to have one's own feelings, friends, activities and opinions and supporting each other's goals in life are important parts of healthy relationships.
While every relationship has periods in which the partners disagree, it is most important that these occurances are marked by non-threatening behavior. Both speech and actions must allow each partner to feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves and doing things alone or together.
Violence, emotional abuse, threatening behavior, etc., jeopardize the success of any relationship, while violating the rights of one partner. In a healthy relationship, partners interact with honesty and accountability, acknowledging past use of violence; admitting when they are wrong; and communicating openly and truthfully.
Shared responsibility also marks a healthy relationship. Partners mutually agree on a fair distribution of work and make sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements. Economic partnership, making money decisions together and seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict, accepting change and being willing to compromise are all part of shared responsibility in a healthy relationship.
If someone may be in immediate danger, call 911. Those needing a referral for counseling or further information can also call the Information and Referral Department at Queensboro Council for Social Welfare (QCSW), 718-468-8025, or 311.