Woman's Texts Reveal An Overlooked Form Of Domestic Abuse

May 5th 2017

Kyle Fitzpatrick

The signs of an abusive relationship are not as straightforward as you might think.

The signs of physical abuse manifest in bruises or cuts on the victim—but the scars of emotional abuse? They're much harder to discern and frequently happen in private, behind closed doors and on screens.

Abusive activities committed by text message and social media are a troubling, new phenomena. The act poses a much different threat to victims and is largely left out of abuse discussions.

One woman is speaking up about text abuse by revealing messages from her ex-husband.

Imgur user krissykross uploaded six screenshots of conversations she had with her ex-husband by text. Each message shared was a means to illustrate how abusive communication occurs in different ways.

Digital abuse via krissykross' text messages.

“I just wanted to share for possibly some closure since I never really got that,” krissykross wrote in the post. “Strangers on the internet are better than keeping it inside for so long...I save these text messages to remind myself how far I've come, not to cry over.”

The messages illustrate the hallmarks of an abuser.

krissykross notes the myriad ways her ex-husband abused her by text: he would constantly demand she say what she's doing, express jealousy, verbally abuse her, threaten her, and attempt to control her by making her prove that she wasn't lying.

“A dating partner may use digital abuse to bully, stalk, intimidate or harass a partner,” notes Break The Cycle, a nonprofit focused on dating abuse. “Texting is just one way a partner using abusive behavior can exert power and control over their partner’s life.”

Situations like this require discussion—and that’s exactly what these texts prompted.

In bringing up domestic abuse, the common question of “Why don’t you leave?” comes up and it’s a troubling, myopic reaction.

Leaving is often not an option for victims of abuse given that their lives are tangled with their abusers'. Moreover, many in situations of abuse have tried to leave: by some estimates, victims will attempt to exit a relationship seven times before finally separating.

Leaving a relationship abruptly can even increase potential dangers: women who leave their abuser have a 75 percent greater risk of being murdered by their husband. This problem can be exacerbated when a gun is present, as women are five times more likely to be killed in these situations.

After she shared her story, krissykross said she too faced pressure to exit.

“Even on my post, a small handful of people were asking, ‘Well, why would you stay then?’” krissykross told HuffPost. “I made very little money, I was financially dependent and I just really wanted my marriage to work. I didn’t want to give up on it. But it’s hard for people on the outside to really understand that, I suppose.”