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Do not accept domestic violence

It is an unfortunate fact that domestic violence continues to pervade American society. While it can be present everywhere, there are those who feel that it is especially related to some aspects of cultural life in Southern states such as Georgia. Regardless of the place or supposed reason behind domestic violence, it should not be tolerated by anyone. Loving familial relationships are supposed to be places of safety and comfort, not endless stress and emotional and physical abuse.

We've previously discussed signs that friends and loved ones can look for to determine if abuse is happening behind closed doors. However, perhaps more important is for those who are in relationships to recognize early signals that the relationship may become an abusive one.

Professionals who have experience dealing with domestic abuse use a tool called the "violence and control wheel" to illustrate some symptoms that may indicate that a significant other has the potential to be an abuser. While most of these apply to male behavior, due to the simple fact that most domestic abusers are men, the basic concepts could be applied to either gender. The characteristics displayed in the wheel generally have a single over-arching theme: control. Expression of attitudes such as that the man should control the household and women do what they are told, or the use of tactics such as isolation from friends or family, or constant "checking up" on where a significant other is and what she is doing are various forms of control attempts and could be signs of potential abuse. Threats of physical or sexual violence, use of angry or "disappointed" looks to alter behavior, or brandishing of weapons or using children as pawns also fall into this category.

It is important to note that every situation is different, and while there are many similarities in domestic abusers' behavior, your situation may or may not contain all these signals. Generally, if you have to ask yourself if a behavior is abusive, there is a good chance it is. In these situations, the first order of business is always your safety, as well as that of any children. Once that is secured, there may be legal options that can be pursued that may help with maintaining your safety. For more information, see our page on options for responding to domestic violence.

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