#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou shows how domestic violence is more than physical abuse

Trigger warning: This article discusses relationship abuse, both physical and emotional.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds. And though it’s so important to talk about physical acts of violence, not all abuse amounts to bruises. It’s much harder to measure the number of emotionally abusive relationships that use manipulation, cruelty, and fear as their main weapons of choice. That’s exactly why #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou has taken off on Twitter — it highlights all the ways, large and small, that domestic abuse isn’t always physical.

It started with writer and artist Zahira Kelly, who first started using the hashtag on May 2nd.

The hashtag resonated with many and soon hundreds of Twitter users took to social media to share completely on-point examples of non-physical abuse:

Some highlighted the manipulation and intimidation that is so often present during arguments:

Others described the isolation that is often a symptom of an emotionally abusive relationship:

And still others described the breaking down of self-worth and confidence as a means to trap you in the relationship:

Emotional and verbal abuse can often be the first signs of an abusive partner, Nancy Friauf, president of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, told HelloGiggles in an email:

Abusers can use manipulation and cruel comments to convince their partner(s) that outside support systems are useless. “If you’re constantly told how stupid you are and how you mess up all the time, you may well come to believe that any attempt to gain employment or build other relationships will [be met] with failure,” Friauf explained. “. . . This is all in an attempt to isolate the victim and destroy any outside sources of support or alternate views of reality.”

Domestic abuse is real no matter what form it comes in. If you think you’re in an abusive relationship, you can get help 24/7 by calling the Partnership Against Domestic Violence 24 hour hotline at 404-873-1766.

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