(CNN Spanish) — Your partner told you that he wanted to have the password for your Instagram account because there are no secrets between you. You reconnected with your friends after months without seeing them and you spent the night answering their messages, because you know they don’t like it when you take time to answer. She constantly accuses you of cheating on her. It never occurred to you that you are in a violent relationship. Maybe you do recognize that your boyfriend is jealous, but violence? How is a violent relationship going to be if there are no hitting, kicking or punching?
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Identifying and admitting that a relationship is violent can be very difficult. First of all, you must remember that violence is not just blows. Abuse manifests itself in multiple ways in addition to physical: it can be emotional, psychological or economic, among others. In fact, the UN defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results, or may result in physical, sexual or psychological harm to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or deprivation arbitrary freedom, whether they occur in public or private life”.
Here we explain 10 actions that, although sometimes they may not seem like it, are recognized as signs of abuse in a relationship by institutions such as the United Nations, the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States and the Mayo Clinic.
1 – Control where and with whom you are all the time
An abusive partner wants to know where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing at all times. And he wants you to respond to his messages and calls immediately.
2 – Demand to know your passwords
It demands access to your social media accounts, your email and your phone. Check them without your permission.
3 – Make decisions for you
It decides for you things like what you should eat, how you should dress or what you should spend your money on.
4 – You never know what might happen next
Their attitudes are unpredictable. You never know what will cause a problem, when an anger will erupt. And, once he breaks out, he holds you responsible for his outbursts. This can lead you, for example, to avoid doing anything that you think might make him angry or cause a conflict.
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5 – Control your method of contraception
Seek to control the contraceptive methods you use and even the instances in which you go to the doctor.
6 – It discourages you from studying or working
An abusive partner isolates you from your environment. He doesn’t want you to see your family or your friends, study or work. It directly prevents you or discourages you.
7 – Demeans you
He puts you down by attacking the way you look, your interests, or your intelligence. Humiliates you, ridicules you, makes fun of you when they are with other people. These types of attitudes constitute emotional abuse that undermines your self-esteem.
8 – Threatens to hurt others and even himself
He may never have hit you, but he does threaten to hurt you, the people you love, or himself. He threatens to hurt the children in the house and even the pets. He destroys objects that you hold dear.
9 – He accuses you of being unfaithful
He constantly accuses you, and unjustifiably, that you are cheating on him. He acts jealous and possessive. You can hear phrases like “if I can’t have you, then no one can.”
10 – Forces you to have sex
Forces you to have sex even if you don’t want to. Assume, for example, that because you wanted to engage in sexual activity in the past, you must do so again in the future. If he forces you to participate in a sexual act without your consent, it is sexual abuse.
3 actions you can take in an abusive relationship
What can you do if you are in an abusive relationship? Here are some tips that highlight the institutions mentioned and that can help you deal with this situation:
1 – Share what happens to you
Tell someone you trust, such as a family member or friend, what is happening to you. You can also contact domestic violence hotlines in your country.
2 – Use electronic devices with caution
An abusive partner can review your messages, call history, the pages you visit on the Internet. Use your phone and computer with caution: change passwords frequently, delete history, disable GPS. That yes: always try to have a phone with charge and have identified who you can call in case you need help.
3 – Have a plan to escape in case it is necessary
It is important that you have a plan in place in case the violence escalates and you have to leave your home quickly. Katie Ray-Jones, executive director of the US National Domestic Violence Hotline, explained to CNN what a 12-step “safety plan” should look like that includes, among other actions, coming up with credible reasons to leave your home. and practice how to do it safely if possible. You can read all the recommendations here.
How to act if you identify situations of violence against women in your environment
If you identify that a friend, relative or neighbor is in an abusive relationship, you can help her. In these cases, the UN recommends that, first of all, you stay in contact with that person in the way that works best for them. Listen carefully and offer your support, but always respecting the privacy of the person who decided to share with you what is happening and their resolutions. This means that unless you seriously believe her life is in danger, you should not make decisions without her consent. And, if you can, make available to her practical resources that can help her in case of need, such as a place to stay or transportation to get away from home.
Perhaps you think that violence against women is a very distant reality. That does not happen in your family, in your neighborhood, in your city, in your country. Yet violence against women happens all over the world every day. According to the WHO, “one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence, primarily at the hands of her partner.” And the consequences are devastating.
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