Invisible Crime

angry lady1

 

We’ve used the word “victim” a lot in our posts as a label for those in abusive relationships. I would like to explain why. Abuse is a crime. Simple. It is a harmful action against another human being. Whether it be verbal or physical or psychological, it is a crime. I feel it is important to establish this fact because abuse is downplayed in our society to such a staggering degree that it is viewed as untouchable. It is a difficult thing to stop because the crime is of such an insidious nature that the victim doesn’t even realize they are being conned. And for those stuck in emotionally abusive relationships, it’s an even harder crime to stop because there is no physical proof or evidence. But I want our readers to know, abuse is a crime. Abuse must be stopped. The more we put domestic violence and abuse in this untouchable category, the more we pander to it. The more complicated we make it, the more untouchable it becomes.

So how do we fight a crime in which the victim does not even realize they are a victim?

The first time my best friend met my abusive boyfriend (I didn’t realize he was abusive at the time) she did not like him. I was offended by her honest opinion that he was an elitist and that she postulated we would not mesh well. I thought she didn’t know him like I did. How could she come to this conclusion so quickly, in just one meeting? My ego was bruised because I deluded myself into thinking I would know if my boyfriend was not right for me, after all, shouldn’t I know best? I have always respected my friend’s opinions and ideas, she has always been a voice of reason in my strangest or most stupid moments. She has always been there to talk me back down to earth.

I’ll never forget the time in my life when my brother, a Marine, almost talked me into going into the military to pursue a career in Arts and Communications. At the time, I was struggling to find a way to earn experience without having to sell my soul for free to a publication. I had bills to pay and could not afford interning for free or for experience. I already had a degree, so he advised me that I could go in as an officer. I appreciate his advice and I am still flattered to this day that my loving brother had enough confidence in me to believe I would survive the military. But when I posed the idea to my friend, she scoffed (rightfully so, knowing my absolute hatred of gyms). She said the military would kill my artistic soul and that I would not do well in that environment. I again was offended. I recall with shame, giving her a lecture on not supporting me enough and being too negative. She apologized, but thankfully I let myself listen to her deduction and I realized she was right, as she always was.

I have to give credit to this friend for planting the first seed of doubt in my mind about my abusive relationship. She did not say he would abuse me. But she was not scared to tell me that she knew he wasn’t right for me. I was too close to the subject. I had already molded in my mind how he would be, that I failed to see the warning signs in front of me. I had another friend at work, who patiently listened to all my rants and tears over every incident with my abusive partner. She never judged me and she never said I was stupid for staying with him. But she would say that she did not like the things he said to me. She would help me feel sane again. She helped undermine all of his efforts to completely break my confidence in myself and my own sanity. I sometimes wonder how I would have reacted if during the course of my tumultuous relationship with him, if I had been shown the Power and Control Wheel. No one had ever talked to me about verbally or mentally abusive relationships. I finally, one day, googled signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, but by the time I thought to research it, I had already made up my mind to leave him. My research only helped to strengthen my resolve.

So how do we fight a crime in which the victim does not even realize they are a victim? We educate as many people as we can. With the honesty and bluntness of a friend, we pull back the veil over their eyes and show them the truth. We let them know what the signs are. This is something we should talk about with our kids. This is something we should talk about with our loved ones. Until we treat it as a straightforward crime, we will not be able to fight it. Abusers are con artists. They may not be stealing money (although economic abuse is totally a thing), but they are stealing our friends, our children, our coworkers, our family. We should warn others just as we warn them against scammers, rapists, and muggers. We should talk about this in our schools. We should talk about this to our kids. Educate everyone close to you.

Start today.

Follow this link to find the definitions of different types of abuse.

Follow this link to learn the signs.

~Lindsey V.

5 thoughts on “Invisible Crime

    1. I remember your dislike of my first manipulative boyfriend. I thought you disliked him because he was pulling me away from my religious convictions. I’m sure now that you saw him for what he was and were just trying to open my eyes to how he was changing me for the worse. I love you and think of that often. It is important that our family and our friends and those closest to us accept our husbands and our boyfriends. That is the first sign, if your family and your friends or those who know you best or are closest to you, if they don’t like him, it’s probably for a good reason. 🙂 Thank you for all your love and support.

      Love–Lindsey V.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Lindsey, you describe well the devious, and often insidious crime of violent/non-violent relationship abuse. I found myself nodding throughout this article on your thoughts and reflections of past experiences. I really appreciate your deeper look into ‘the honest and bluntness’ of a friend. I agree, intuitively many close friends and family members can spot straightaway if they think a situation/person is wrong for us.

    The lack of physical evidence may be true, especially with verbal abuse but as you rightly point out one has only to dig a little for clear evidence that things are wrong. Thank you for adding those supportive links, so helpful. I had a friend who wasn’t allowed to work late, go with colleagues for drinks/lunch, or even attend the annual Christmas party all because of her jealous, possessive boyfriend.

    Her life was stolen from her by him for the next six years, while her sister, parents, and friends were made to feel really unwelcome if they ever visited. Thankfully, the relationship came to an end when he crossed the one and only boundary she had in place … he cheated on her and it was only in that moment that she realised she had been in an abusive relationship!

    I absolutely love what you’re both doing here at BURNToast! Bright spring wishes, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah,

    Your story about your coworker is sadly very common. I’m so glad that she had a boundary and left him after that great offense. I hope she is living her life to her fullest and making up for lost times with friends and family and coworkers.

    Thank you so much for your compliments! I know I say it always, but I seriously feel so encouraged by your praises. It feels great to be writing with a purpose and to have my sister back. She was lost from us for so many years and to finally be reunited with a joint project, I could no be more thankful. Best of Wishes–Lindsey V.

    *And thank you for the comment about my artwork, I am trying to draw more often. 🙂

    Like

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