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Maybe He Doesn’t Hit You

 Posted on April 19, 2017 in Domestic Violence

Lombard family law attorneysIf you have spent any time on the social media platform Twitter recently, you may be familiar with the hashtag “Maybe He Doesn’t Hit You.” The provocative message seeks to raise awareness about domestic violence—specifically psychological abuse.

Hidden Dangers

Psychological or emotional abuse often does not garner as much attention as physical abuse does. Physical abuse is often easier to spot because the victim may have visible bruises and scars or may need medical attention. Unfortunately, emotional abuse can go unnoticed by others until it becomes extreme. Even worse, many victims might not even realize that they are in an abusive relationship. People who have been victimized in the past or grew up with abusive or neglectful parents may consider certain abusive behavior to be normal. Victims of abuse may believe they deserve this damaging treatment because they are unworthy of more compassionate behavior. By sharing their stories of triumph over psychological abuse, men and women are taking the stigma out of discussing this form of domestic violence. The hashtag—a character used to track trending topics on social media—has been used in posts to share some gut-wrenching examples of psychological abuse, including:

  • “#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he says you should be grateful he doesn't”;
  • “#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes sure you believe that you're too broken/damaged to ever be wanted by anyone else”; and
  • “#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he threatens your financial security, undermines your authority & constantly tells you you’re nothing without him.”

A Widespread Problem

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that “48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.” This type of emotional control and manipulation can have serious consequences. The trauma caused by psychological abuse can lead to or worsen mental illnesses and cause a dramatic drop in mental and emotional well-being. Studies link emotional abuse with issues trusting others, low self-esteem, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughts.

Psychological abuse can take many forms, several of which are subtle and may go unrecognized. The common types of emotional abuse include:

  • Isolating the victim from friends and family;
  • Purposefully demeaning or humiliating the victim;
  • Gaslighting or manipulating the victim;
  • Deceiving the victim or withholding information from him or her;
  • Convincing the victim that they are at fault for the abuse;
  • Controlling the victim by financial means; and
  • Threatening physical harm to a victim or his or her family

It should be noted that although hashtag uses a male pronoun, that men and women are equally as likely to be victims of psychological abuse.

Seek Help Immediately

If you are the victim of psychological or emotional abuse perpetrated by your spouse or romantic partner, contact a compassionate Lombard family law attorney for assistance right away. Our team will help you explore your legal options while working with you to find resources for protecting yourself. Call 630-426-0196 and schedule a consultation today.


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