What Does Domestic Violence Look Like?

What is domestic violence? What does it look like? How do I know I’m in a relationship where we aren’t equal partners? I’m the breadwinner, but my partner is embarrassed about it. What is going on?

Domestic Violence is complex and pervades pieces of your life that sometimes you don’t see. It shows up on dates, like a strange acquaintance that you have to explain to people. It shows up at weddings, as your date, who paid their bookie for the upcoming football game, and during the festivities, he/she is having ups and downs related to the bet they placed. It takes many forms, but how do you know you’re in it? (Personal experience).

Sometimes it shows up as the bruises you brandish on your body, but have to take 20 pictures of for anyone to believe you. Sometimes it shows up as you not believing that your gifts are real gifts, whatever those gifts are. Sometimes Domestic Violence shows up as a person who “oinks” at you every time you drink a Coca-cola (also personal experience). DV is insidious. It shows up wherever there is an opportunity. It shows up to piss in a circle around you, and to let you know that “as a trans woman, you’ll never be a woman”, or to let you know that “You’re lucky anyone puts up with your shit”, or that “You’re a sorry cook and no one will marry you”. DV is an asshole who doesn’t deserve to be listened to, and yet, we do.

How does DV make its way in? We all want to know. DV is a very specific asshole who finds what your insecurities are, and then plays upon them. DV usually starts a conversation with “I like how your nose scrunches when you laugh! It makes you look like a rabbit, but you’re so tall?” It sounds like a compliment, a strange compliment. It says “I like how your boobs stand straight up”, and it ends with “Your boobs are so tiny”. DV is the sad asshole of hope. DV hopes they get to be inside your head and you won’t tell on their bad habit, but they’ve pinned you down, they know what you dislike about yourself, and they’ve honed it. That’s how you know you’re in. You’re in there like swimwear, DV has your number.

What do you do about DV? You reach out to friends. You mentally organize your things, decide what is most important, then you have your friends move your stuff in a big group where you are protected from DV. You sound the alarm. You aren’t alone with this person. You protect yourself and find a safe place to be.  You may have to get a storage unit for your things.  You know that you can come to us at Love Wins, and we’re in your corner.

Don’t put up with being beaten, hurt, ridiculed, exhausted.  Reach out, because you have a network, and have a safe haven here.  We all have lived experiences, and DV is so varied.  It’s the feeling of worthlessness you have today.  It’s your partner saying “You’re wearing THAT?”  It’s the with-holding of intimacy from a person you have a bond with, and you can also leave.  We can help with that.

You don’t have to live with your 3rd, very expensive roommate, Domestic Violence.  You can leave them.  You can do something for you.  I’ve lived this life, and I can tell you, you’re worth more than this.  You will achieve and thrive outside of this, but you won’t, until you put up with no more.  No more name-calling.  No more beatings.  No more gas-lighting.  No more of that.  Recognize your worth, and when you don’t feel like you know where to go, come to us, and we’ll help however we can.

Maybe DV has told you that your recent promotion wasn’t enough.  Maybe DV has told you that he needed a certain drug to be okay and he needed you to go get it by any means.  Maybe DV beat you both afterwards because they felt you weren’t “enough”.  That’s what Domestic Violence does.  It feeds off of your accomplishments, then diminishes you, as an afterthought.  DV works selfishly.  DV is your enemy. Don’t play into DV’s hands, you are worth so much more.

*If you’re experiencing a domestic violence situation, please contact our friends at Interact of Wake County, or call the crisis line at 919-828-7740.  If you would like to contribute to our continued Safe Space here at Love Wins, click here to donate so that we can continue to provide a safe place to be for people experiencing hardship.

Author: MaRanda Kiser

Food is my love language- it's how I express love into the world.