Dear Ann Landers,
Please print this list of warning signals to help women determine if a mate or date is a potential (or actual) batterer.
Be careful if your mate displays any of the following signs:
1. Jealousy of your time with co-workers, friends and family.
2. Controlling behavior. (Controls your comings and goings and your money and insists on "helping" you make personal decisions.)
3. Isolation. (Cuts you off from supportive resources such as telephone pals and colleagues at work.)
4. Blames others for his problems. (Unemployment, family quarrels -- everything is "your fault.")
5. Hypersensitivity. (Easily upset by annoyances that are a part of daily life, such as being asked to work overtime, criticism of any kind, being asked to help with chores or child care.)
6. Cruelty to animals or children. (Insensitive to their pain and suffering, may tease and/or hurt children and pets.)
7. "Playful" use of force in sex. (May throw you down and hold you during sex. May start having sex with you when you are sleeping or demand sex when you are ill or tired.)
8. Verbal abuse. (Says cruel and hurtful things, degrades and humiliates you, wakes you up to verbally abuse you or doesn't let you go to sleep.)
9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. (Sudden mood swings and
unpredictable behavior -- one minute loving, the next minute angry and punitive.)
10. Past history of battering. (Has hit others but has a list of excuses for having been "pushed over the edge.")
11. Threats of violence. (Says, "I'll slap you," "I'll kill you," or "I'll break
12. Breaking or striking objects. (Breaks your possessions, throws objects near or at you or your children.)
13. Uses force during an argument. (Holds you down or against a wall, pushes, shoves, slaps or kicks you. This behavior can easily escalate to choking, stabbing or shooting.)
Ann, please tell your readers they don't have to accept violent behavior from anyone -- mates, dates, parents or friends. Because millions of American women will be battered at some time in their lives, they need to know how to read the warning signs. Any woman who sees herself in the column today should call the nearest women's crisis line and tell someone what is happening. She will be provided with support and safety options.
There are several ways to break the cycle of violence, and identifying the
warning signs is the first step. -- Portland, Ore.
Some women do not realize they are being abused until it is pointed out to them. They have been made to believe abusive treatment is what they deserve. I hope women who see themselves in this column will look up the number of the nearest women's shelter and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or visit thehotline.org. It could save their lives.