1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Many men are victims of this type of abuse as well. It goes beyond physical harm. Name-calling, keeping partner from contacting their family or friends, withholding money, stopping partner from employment, threats, sexual assault, stalking and intimidation are ALL forms of abuse. It is NOT ok to be humiliated in public or private or to be controlled. To be made to feel guilty for somebody else’s anger. It is always their issue and not your fault. The question” Why he/she doesn’t just leave?” happens to be the first thing that is asked by others outside of the situation. It is never as simple as walking out the door. I could quote statistics and facts but I will quote a saying “Domestic violence is the suffocation of another person’s spirit”. It paralyzes you mentally & emotionally outside of the physical effects. There is an intense fear associated with always being on alert, walking on eggshells, waiting for the next attack. Combined with being afraid, there is the “love” factor. Being blinded by the sex, money, status, and so on, the abused take on the stance that they somehow asked for this behavior and/or this is just how love is supposed to be. Relationships, even marriages can last for many years in this cycle. Culture and society play a big role in believing that one should “Mind their own business” when this topic comes up. There are notions passed on, in many circles, from generation to generation that this type of abuse should not even be perceived as a crime but a way of life. It is a personal matter between the abuser and partner. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Domestic violence should be reported and action taken to assist the one suffering. When a person chooses to tell someone they are being abused, believe them. Abuse is NOT about love, it is about CONTROL. Silence encourages the tormentor so when confronted with the choice of speaking out and asking for assistance, only look ahead. Even if the only step you can take is calling or texting someone to make them aware that you are being abused and are not sure of what to do next, You have made the best decision to value yourself and that is quite something to be proud of. It is a serious issue which calls for unwavering action. Yes, you may be afraid but do it anyway. Work through the fear and guilt of becoming aware that this is not what you want or need in your life. There will be times where you question yourself and your actions, it confuses you maybe even keeps you in limbo but you can break free! You may feel “weak” but once you declare “NO MORE” you are now claiming victory. You may have been victimized for far too long, in a never-ending cycle that wasn’t fair to you, but choose to look forward in hope rather than back in despair. You need time to heal and love yourself enough to set clear boundaries. It is not easy to do this but I am telling you that with the support of friends, family, even professionals it can be done. I don’t want to dismiss the fact that there will be some friends and family members that may not know how to be supportive and it will feel like you are being abandoned but the goal is to not ask anyone to save you but to stand by you while u save yourself. So this means, encourage yourself by journaling, therapy, meditation, exercise, music. Find what works for YOU. Helping yourself is guaranteed is to gain the right support that you need, always. http://www.purplepurse.com is a national endeavor focused on ending domestic violence through a proven solution: financial empowerment services for survivors. The national domestic violence hotline 1-800-799-7233 will connect you to a counselor who can provide direction on your next steps and local assistance in your area. Since computer activity can be tracked, there is also a link about internet safety when seeking help. Please know that you are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. You are allowed to walk away from people that hurt you. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for choosing to stand up within. Your self-worth, your self-esteem, health and life MATTERS!