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During the month of February, we often put a heavy emphasis on love and relationships. With an alarming amount of people affected by domestic abuse, it is important to know the signs of abuse and where to seek help.During the month of February, we often put a heavy emphasis on love and relationships. With an alarming amount of people affected by domestic abuse, it is important to know the signs of abuse and where to seek help.It isn’t always obvious that you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse. It’s common for those experiencing domestic abuse to believe it’s their fault that they are being abused. However, it is very important to realize that nothing a victim has said or done makes them deserving of abuse. It can be difficult to spot abusive behavior. Some key signs to identify abuse, according to newhopeforwomen.org, webmd.org, and helpguide.org include: Possessiveness-Checking in to see where you are, who you’re with, when you left and when you’ll be home, and/or why you are going out “constantly.”-Trying to control where you go or who you’re with and getting angry if you don’t do as they say. Jealousy-Accusing you of being unfaithful or flirting unnecessarily.-Isolating you from friends and family. Mental abuse-Attacking your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities.-Blaming you for their outbursts.-Saying: “No one else will want you.” Threats-Yelling and breaking things you value deliberately.-Threatening violence toward you, your family, your friends, or your pets. Physical Violence -Any form of physical violence (pushing, shoving, hitting, grabbing).-Forcing sex or anything you do not want to do and do not consent to.-Actual harm to you, your family, your friends, or your pets. These are just a few of the more common signs that you or a loved one could be victim to domestic abuse. If even ONE of the listed signs feels familiar, it is important to seek help.It is important to not only seek help, but to stay safe. Let the people you love know what is going on, and let them know what your plans are for the future. It is also important to tell them how you plan to leave the relationship as well. Getting authorities involved is beneficial to you and your safety. If you are experiencing an emergency, please try to get to a phone and call 911. The university recommends a domestic abuse hotline as well, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7266).In Bell County, you can reach the sheriff at his office number (254) 933-5412. On campus, campus police are located on the ground floor of Mabee, and can be reached at (254) 295-5555. Many people tend to pose the question, “Why didn’t they just leave the first time?” Leaving an abusive relationship can be more difficult than some anticipate. While in a relationship, people learn to depend emotionally on one another, and form bonds unique to each individual. When being abused, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between all of these emotions in one cohesive moment. A victim of abuse can struggle with the idea that their partner loved them, and feel they love them too. Often a victim’s question is, “Why would someone who loves me intentionally hurt me?” They may have various excuses each time, from mental health, to possible physical or mental injuries, to simply believing it must have been their fault. They cannot accept or admit to themselves that this person was abusive.Victims can also struggle with the connections their abuser has with the victim’s family. Often when dating someone, it is common to introduce them to parents or siblings, and to begin making them involved with the family’s special events. One problem can be that families only see the “good” side of an abuser. That can make it extra difficult to leave an abuser because they can be torn on how to break the news to family. The victim can feel trapped because they think that no one will believe them if they told them how the abuser really acted behind closed doors. There are some reasons why many domestic abuse victims struggle with the concept of leaving such relationships. When you know the signs of abuse however, speak up. Some ways suggested in how to help someone in a domestic abuse relationship include, as suggested by abuseintervention.org:Talking to them-Try to make victims feel safe when speaking with you. It may take a while before a victim can tell you that abuse is occurring, if at all.Don’t judgeAbuse is a difficult thing to get through, and it is important to make sure that victims feel secure with you and that they have someone to turn to.Be Patient-It can sometimes take a while for a victim to realize they are being abused, so have patience.Help plan a safe escape -If children are involved, be sure to speak to legal assistance before doing anything concrete, but remain fast paced and level headed.-Understand that many times things like financial situations, a home, possessions, and even jobs can be lost in the process of escaping an abusive situation. Plans by victims and supporters need to be in place in order for victims to recover from such possible loss.Leaving an abusive relationship can be one of the most difficult tribulations a person can encounter. Even acknowledging that there is abuse occurring is difficult. But knowing the signs of abuse can be vital to surviving and escaping from such situations. Seek help, or talk to those whom you suspect may be suffering. Domestic abuse is never the victim’s fault and that can be one of the most difficult facts to accept. However, once that is accepted, your life, or a victim’s life will change forever.