When Children are caught in the crossfire of emotional and physical domestic abuse, their chances of coming out of this unscarred are slim to none. When social services face deep budget cuts, children of partners in abusive relationships stand an even greater chance of falling through the cracks of a bureaucracy still very patriarchal when it comes to male dominance over women.
Contrary to what many in our society debunk as hyperbole, domestic violence cuts through class, gender, age and color lines. Women from affluent communities like Winnetka and Lake Forest experience the same abuse as women from Englewood and Austin. We just don’t speak about it or see it daily in headlines.
Since abusers from all backgrounds share many or all of the following traits, no one is immune from being victimized. Abusers are manipulative, controlling and jealous. They are particularly adept at hurling cruel and hurtful language at their victims, usually in private when only family members or no one is around. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an abuser runs a gamut of unpredictable emotions from being explosive and moody to being congenial and affectionate. It is not unusual for abusers to use intimidation through looks, gestures and actions, i.e. smashing objects, in order to terrorize victims into submission. They’re also masters of mind games bragging to others about their partner’s accomplishments while privately ridiculing, bullying and finally chipping away at their partner’s self-esteem.