When I read the story about Megan Short’s murder, it really struck home for me. This relationship ended tragically with her husband Mark Short shooting his wife, their three kids, their dog, and then shot himself. It was reported that this relationship was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. Physician violence has not been reported in this tragic situation.
The reports say the police had been called on more than one occasion and Megan’s family was aware there were problems. Megan Short was advised to file a protective order but she made the decision to leave the relationship instead. The day she was supposed to move into her own place was the same day her husband shot her, her family and himself.
The reports say on her Facebook page she clicked an article titled He Didn’t hit me. It was still abuse. This article tells a story about a verbally abusive relationship where there are no visible wounds. Movies and television show do a good job of painting a picture of domestic abuse as physical violence.
However, in the situation with Megan Short, they say she had never been physically abused but her husband wound up murdering the entire family. Just because the abuser has not hit you yet, does not mean he won’t. I do not mean to paint a dark picture of emotionally abusive people, but I do believe they are unlikely to change. Just read Why Does He Do That by Bandcroft Lundy for more detail about abusers.
Another case that ended tragically was the case with Jessica Gonzales. She was able to obtain a restraining order against her estranged husband. The report does not state whether he was abusive or not. However, on one day her husband picked up the kid at her home without her knowledge. She called the police multiple times and asked them to go get her children. That day, he took them to an amusement park and then murdered the three girls and then fired on the police station and was killed. You can read more about this case at Gonzales Vs. Castle Rock.
I have admitted that my relationship with my ex-husband was domestic abuse, but then I say, “But he never hit me.” Why do I feel the need to state that? Why do I feel a verbally abusive relationship is less abusive because it was not physically abusive? Did he really have to hit me?
He prevented me from leaving the house, he used our daughter to control me, he threatened to take custody of our daughter, he kicked a hole in our bedroom door. His comments would constantly make me worry about what he ‘could do’ to me. When he was happy with me, it was ‘our house’ or ‘our car’, but when he was upset it was ‘his house’ or ‘his car that he let me drive’. Plus, his drinking and drug use often led to extremely unpredictable behavior.
The day I told him I was getting divorced I really believed he might kill me. After leaving him I do remember feeling so afraid to leave my house. His harassing phone calls and emails would consistently keep me on edge. Then he would grill our daughter for information and then leave those messages on my phone. He would talk to my friends and try to get them on his side. I eventually stopped talking to them because I didn’t want him having any insight into my life. He has used our child as a pawn for so many years.
So, does it matter if they hit you? His verbal assaults were often damaging enough. If you are in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and you are thinking about leaving, be sure to protect yourself and take extra precautions. Even if they have never hit you, think about safety first and read articles like Getting Ready to Leave.