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How to Prevent Domestic Violence

Updated on November 10, 2011
Image Courtesy of publik - Flickr
Image Courtesy of publik - Flickr

The only real way to prevent domestic violence is not to get involved with a person who has an abusive personality. Abusive behavior is not an act of rage. It is also not caused by substance abuse. It is a personality disorder and the chances of stopping a person from resorting to violence is so slight. The only thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to end the relationship before it is too late.

These people rarely change. The fact that women in abusive relationships leave their partners an average of seven times before they eventually end the relationship is proof that abusers don't stop abusing their partners.

Unfortunately the last thing that we think of when entering into relationships is the potential of our newly found partner to become abusive. I say unfortunately because studies show that one in every four women will be physically abused by their partner at some time during their lifetime. That means that there is a 25% chance that the next relationship you enter could be with a potential batterer.

Many of these relationships could have been avoided if the women knew what the warning signs were and ended the relationship before the onset of the abuse.

Image courtesy of Nathalie_Renaud - Flickr
Image courtesy of Nathalie_Renaud - Flickr

Warning Signs - Battering Personalities

The following is a list of behaviors that should raise a red flag. The danger will of course increase with the number of these traits the person exhibits.

Shows lack of respect towards his mother or women in general: When a man shows a lack of respect to his mother it is usually a sign that he has been brought up believing that women are the weaker sex and that men have certain privileges. The chances are good that his mother is herself a victim of emotional abuse or she would not allow her child to treat her in this manner. Unfortunately children who grow up in emotional abuse surroundings are at a high risk of becoming emotional abusers themselves.

He has a history of abusing in the past: One thing to remember is that circumstances don't influence well-balanced adults into becoming abusers. Abusive behavior is a personality disorder and in time these men will resort to abusive behavior if the relationship lasts long enough. If you hear that the person has resorted to battering in a previous relationship take your money and run. And don't look back.

Abusive people never take the blame for anything. They will most definitely not take the blame for previous abuse. Physical abuse rarely starts at the beginning of a relationship. It could be months or even years before a person becomes abusive. As much as 30% of physical violence starts when a women becomes pregnant. That could be quite a time after the start of the relationship.

Hits and kicks objects when he is angry: If you see him slamming doors, kicking things he can not fix or hitting objects off a table be careful. The next time he lifts his hand could be to hit you. Normal people do not go around hitting objects - only in the movies. This is a sign that he shows no respect and is a means of instilling fear. He wants you to know what he is capable of when angered so that you make sure that you keep him happy.

Leads you to believe that you are inferior: The abusive person is self-centered and in an attempt to make you idolize them leads you to believe that you are unintelligent, inferior, only good for menial tasks such as caring for them. This is all emotional abuse and manipulation to make you feel that you are dependent on them for your very being.

Emotional abuse is the precursor to physical abuse: Physical abuse does not happen without a build up of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can on its own leave much deeper scars than physical abuse and if your partner starts abusing you emotionally the its time to get out of the relationship. Verbal abuse includes saying cruel things to you in order to degrade and belittle you. They become so obsessed with humiliating you that they often keep their partner from going to sleep or wake them up in order to abuse them verbally.

Threats of violence should never be seen to be idle threats: Normal people do not threaten to harm their partners irrespective of how angry they may be. Never see a threat to slap you, kick your teeth out or kill you or any similar threat as an idle threat. They will try to convince you it is just a manner of speech and that everybody talks like that. People don't - unless they have the potential to act out their threats.

Inability to accept responsibility for his failures: If your partner has difficulty in holding down a steady job and finding someone else to blame for this - see this as a big red flag. If your partner puts the blame squarely on your shoulders for everything that goes wrong in his life see this as a major clue to where this relationship is heading. Abusive partners can never admit that they are at fault about anything and tend to blame their partners. This is just one of the ways that they get to manipulate and brainwash their partners into believing they are indebted to the abuser, that they are terrible people and in so doing they slowly but surely gain power and control over their victims.

Jealousy: Jealousy is not a sign of love in fact it has nothing to do with love. It is a sign of lack of trust and an attempt to gain control over you. Abusers will always try to excuse themselves for being so insanely jealous by telling you their jealousy is a sign of how much they love you. Don't be fooled into believing this. Unless one of the partners has done something to betray the other's trust people in healthy relationships trust each other.

Pushing the relationship to move too fast
: Abusive people can be very charming at the beginning of a relationship. They tend to sweep women off their feet and before you know it he'll be asking you to move in with him. Beware if you feel that the relationship is moving too fast. Many victims of domestic violence report that they moved in with the abusive partners after only knowing them for a few months. Take your time and make sure that you know as much as possible about a person before taking your relationship to the next level.

Attempting to control your every move: Under the pretense of being concerned for your safety abusive partners try to control your every move. They will get upset if you take too long when you go shopping, get home a bit late from work and will not really believe you when you try to explain that the traffic was heavy or any other valid reason. They will eventually want to know who you spoke to;where you spoke to them and what you spoke about. This controlling behavior tends to worsen and the next thing you will realize that your partner is making all your personal decisions for you. He will tell you what clothes to wear, how to arrange the furniture and whether you should go to church or not. As time progresses these people take control of all the finances and will try to control you to the point where you will need to ask their permission to leave the house. Watch out for those first warning signs before it gets to this stage.

The partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family: In an attempt to cut you off from any outside resources the abusive person will try to keep you from having contact with the people that are close to you. He will criticize all your friends, in particular those that are supportive. He will label them as trouble-makers and try to prevent you from maintaining the friendship. He will find fault with all family members and make it so unpleasant that the abused partner will eventually refrain from visiting her family. They may even restrict your telephone calls under the pretense of saving money.

Blames you for how they feel: Abusers never take responsibility for their own feelings, despite the fact that they actually make a decision about how they feel or think. It will be your fault that they are angry or mad. They will use this to manipulate you and make you feel guilty. This is all part of emotional abuse which is the biggest predictor of physical abuse.

They feel sorry for themselves
: Abusers tend to feel sorry for themselves about things that other people just accept as part of ordinary living. They will feel that it is unfair that they need to actually get up and go to work, or stand in a queue, or help you with trivial things. They are hypersensitive and take everything personally.

Cruelty to animals and insensitivity to children:
People who abuse animals and resort to brutal punishment are high risk for domestic violence. If they are constantly criticizing other people's children or expecting them to be able to things beyond their capability consider this as a warning sign. These people will not easily accept children that you bring with you into the relationship. The abusive person tends to tease children until they cry. The abusive partner may try to prevent you from having contact with your children or may punish them to hurt you. Remember that almost sixty percent of partners that resort to physical violence abuse their children as well as their partners.

Little or no regards to your sexual needs: These people often have sexual fantasies and will expect you to act these out. They may even tell you that they get exited about the thought of raping someone. They will sulk or get angry if you do not satisfy their every sexual need as way to manipulate you. They are also known to start having sex with their sleeping partners and demand sex irrespective of your state of mind. They invariably use sex as a means of making up after a verbal or physical attack on you.

Warning Signs If You Suspect a Family Member or Friend is a Victim of Domestic Violence


Although this list is long and may not even include all the warning signs they all signify reasons for concern. Obviously the more of these signs you see in your partner the greater the risk of him being an abusive personality.

It may look as if I am describing half the men in the world and I would not be that far off. Unfortunately according to statistics one in every four women will be physically abused by their partners at some stage of her life.

That means that one in every four men are abusers!! That is why you really have to be extremely careful before getting emotionally and intimately involved in a relationship!

Watch for those warning signs and end a relationship you do not feel comfortable being in, before it's too late.


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    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      This may work in exceptional situations . The problem is very few of the abusers are willing to admit that they have a problem and usually refuse to go for councelling. According to statistics and the medical profession in the majority of cases these people can not or do not want to be helped. The worst part is deciding whether or not to risk your life and those of your children on the off chance that your partner will ever stop the violence before he or she kills you or scars you for life.

    • profile image

      catrin jones 

      6 years ago

      Rather than run away and end the relationship, is it not possible to help you're partner and stop this?

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Sarah

      The bulk of the research was done by reading a multitude of articles on the subject and then I got quite a lot of input from people who have been victims of abusive relationships. The final article was sent to a family member who is a clinical psychologist for verification of my findings before publishing the article.I think you will have a reasonably comprehensive and accurate article to use as a base for your research project.

      I am honoured that you have decided to include this article in your project. Good Luck.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi, Im doing a research project on Domestic Violence. I really appreciate the information in the article, i have chosen to include in my project. Can you please tell me how this research was done?

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Mom - There is not much she can do but wait until he hurts her badly enough forher to realise that she has no option but to leave this man. He most likely will not admit he has a problem and will not go for counselling. As mother you should try to remove her from this dangerous situation. Good luck.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      this is a useful hub specially for who are the victim.but i just want to know what can she do by this situation,if she is 8 month pragenent & does not want to leave her husband.

    • profile image

      Jenna Bean 

      6 years ago

      I think that many accounts of domestic abuse fail to acknowledge the fact that men, too, can be victims of abuse.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A perfect article. Most of the times women tend to tolerate the behaviour due to society concern, or due to young children. The courage required to tackle this abusive husband is very high. Though friends and relatives may be very willing to help out, a women requires lot of courage to face the social stigma attached especially the court and police proceedings.

      One more point worth mentioning would be - the abusive person finds faults with little things - like not cooking properly, or keeping the house tidy etc. to ... infidelity.

      He also has problems with the spouse's career etc.....

      These views are from personal experiences... Still into it....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      reading this was emotional, i went through everything on that list! my abuser still makes attempts to contact me and he has a new gf and its been 8 months since i've left him. he doesn't scare me anymore however i do get paranoid that he will show up being he showed up twice already once he didn't ring the bell and the 2nd time he did and i told him i wanted nothing to do with him and yet he still tries to reach out to me.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I found this article to be very informative. Unfortunately, you make a logical misstep when you state that one in every four men is an abuser since one every four women has been the victim of abuse. A number of abusive men probably have abused multiple women in their lifetimes so the statistical percentage of abusive men is probably much lower.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Vizag

      But we can't stop involving with our family members who follow domestic violence.So just verify it once.

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the positive comment EuroCafeAuLait. It is a disturbing subject that unfortunately will not go away if you ignore it. We all need to make people aware of the options available to them when they find themselves in this type of situation.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      7 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Whew - heavy subject - and yet, very clearly written. Many of these behaviors I have witnessed and or heard of - and it is a very fine line when the man is insecure. Thanks again for laying it so well on the line. I am especially concerned about the children's state of mind and emotional bearings when they are in fear for their mother's life when the man is verbally or physically abusive.

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you for your contribution Sparkster = irrespective of whether the abuser is male, female or heterosexual domestic violence is an inexcusable and degrading experience not only for the victims but even more so for their siblings.

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is a well written hub. However, there is a massive bias within both the justice system and society of most abusers being men, despite research showing the opposite.

      Studies performed by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Centre for Disease and control showed that 70% of non-reciprocal abuse in relationships was started by women and that women were more likely to abuse their children than men.

      I think this is down to the fact that a female's natural defense mechanism has to work on a psychological basis whereas a male's defense mechanism is based on physical force which would explain why most emotional/mental abusers are women and most physical abusers are men.

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent. I believe we as women have to be very cautious of letting dangerous fools in our lives.

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Highvoltagewriter

      I am glad that reading my hub made you realize just how grave the situation is. It seems we have a pretty unstable society based on the figures. Hope you find some way to vent your anger. It may be a good idea to take up some form of exercise such as kick-boxing ( I'm no expert but maybe this will help to get rid of pent-up anger).

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      9 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Thank You for your great hub! As a man I find the statistics you given very disturbing! I have never hit a woman and I have high respect for my mother and women in general. However, I do have a bad temper and it makes me want to search my soul even more so I can find ways to keep my temper from being destructive to ANYONE including my self. Thanks again for your courage in tackling this very important and serious subject!

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for coming by and sharing. Could not agree more with your comment. It is tragic that people have to experience domestic violence and that people resort to violence and abuse of any nature.

    • terrowhite profile image


      9 years ago

      Some of the most tragic situation comes in life when people around you abuse you and torture you at every single step.. Domestic violence is something which shouldn't be tolearted and must be opposed..Few of my friends have gone through this stage.. its tragic! believe me..

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Kimberley!

      Hopefully with this week's hubmob topic more people will become aware of the magnitude of this problem.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      If only more people knew these critical points,really well done and well written, thank you, Kimberly

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for an insightful Hub on such a difficult subject.

      Love and peace


    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks MM

      I agree with what you say - Just wanted to make sure people understand that substance abuse is not the cause. Abusiveness is still a personality disorder and not caused by substance abuse - only aggravated by it. The substance is a scapegoat for the abuser.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Very thorough.

      Although the most common abuse dynamic is male to female, there can be abuse in gay relationships and women can also abuse their male partners(typically mental/emotional more than physical).

      The one thing I would add is you are right. Abuse/domestic violence is not caused by substance abuse. However, you very, very rarely see this kind of violence without alcohol or drugs involved. The relationship may not be causal.But it does co-occur. So heavy drinking/drug use is another clue if you see some of the other signs as well! MM

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Paeadise

      Yes I agree - if we can recognize the signs we can help other people who are unaware of them, Unfortunately love is blind and most people don't want to believe anything bad of their partner in a new relationship, but ar least we can try.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Once again, Laura, my hat's off to you for a truly telling hub. And I also liked Princessa's point about recognizing the warning signs on behalf of daughters and friends (and sisters!)

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Princessa

      A very good point that I failed to mention in my hub. Thank you for pointing it out.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      It is good to know the warning signs, not only for oneself, but also to be able to protect our daughers and friends from entering and abusive relationship.

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Lyla

      Hope we can prevent a few tragic relationships with the hubmob this week!

    • lyla profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Laura,a well analyzed and thought provoking hub!Thanks for sharing!

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks travelespresso - It is not only tragic - It's very disturbing.!

    • travelespresso profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Well said Laura. One in Four....that's tragic!


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