Wellness Matters

Asking These 15 Questions Could Save a Life

July 11, 2017

women stopping domestic abuse
Each year, more than 10 million Americans are physically abused by an intimate partner. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, physical violence is often accompanied by emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse and stalking. There is no age limit, and no socioeconomic, gender, racial or religious boundaries. Intimate partner violence exists everywhere.

If you suspect that someone you love – regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation – is in an abusive relationship, here are 15 questions you should ask.
  1. Does your partner have a bad temper, lose their temper easily or act in an intimating manner?
  2. Are you afraid to go home or be alone with your partner?
  3. Is your partner jealous or possessive toward you?
  4. Has your partner ever locked you out or left you somewhere?
  5. Does your partner make you feel guilty for spending time with family and friends?
  6. Are you denied access to money, or have you been put on an allowance?
  7. Does your partner check up on you, limit your activities or accuse you of having an affair?
  8. Do you make excuses for your partner’s behavior or lie about the abuse?
  9. Does your partner threaten to harm you, your children or your pets?
  10. Does your partner disrespect, criticize, embarrass or harass you in front of other people?
  11. Do you feel that you can’t say no to unwanted sexual activity?
  12. Do you feel alone, socially isolated, helpless, trapped or emotionally numb?
  13. Does your partner control you, make decisions for you, or make it seem like you can’t say no?
  14. Does your partner threaten to take away your children if you leave or tell anyone about the abuse?
  15. Does your partner blame the mistreatment on stress, money problems, drugs or alcohol, or you “pushing their buttons”?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, then your loved one may be in an abusive relationship. There are local and national resources available:
  • Family Abuse Services of Alamance County: 336-226-5982
  • Family Services of the Piedmont (Guilford County): 336-273-7273
  • HELP Inc. Center Against Violence (Rockingham County): 336-342-3332
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

About the Author

Hope Rife, Licensed Social Worker

Hope Rife, ACSW, LCSW, is a licensed social worker and director of the Cone Health Clinical Social Work Department

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