Writer and artist Zahira Kelly started #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou on May 2 to show how domestic violence goes far beyond physical abuse.
Kelly is a Dominican American who understands intimate partner violence and has experienced it first hand.
“I’ve made the error of trying to be everything to someone and giving my whole life only to have them never find it enough,” Kelly said in an advice column for The New Inquiry. “It taught me that whoever loves me needs to love me as I am. Or it won’t ever be love.”
Physical abuse is a significant issue in the United States. Approximately 20 people are physically abused every minute by an intimate partner in the U.S. daily, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Not all domestic violence leads to bruises or 911 calls; the emotional scarring of a damaging relationship is hard to spot and is easily overlooked.
Hundreds of people took to Twitter and used the hashtag to show their personal experiences with emotional abuse.
#maybehedoesnthityou but he will find something wrong with every friend that you have so that you think he’s the only thing good for you.
— Tasha Johnson (@JohnsonToTheTee) May 13, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but you’ve watched him punch enough walls and destroy enough objects to wonder if you’re next
— a wandering ghost (@pale_teen) May 12, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but you avoid saying or doing things because you don’t want to have to deal with how he might react.
— Jennifer Hodgson (@jennifer_hodg) May 9, 2016
Sophomore Alyis Clark, a computer science major, wasn’t surprised to hear the statistics on domestic abuse as she said that we live in a patriarchal society.
“[Emotional abuse] is not something you can really see unless you start talking to someone, if you don’t talk to people in that situation you’re not really going to know how mentally scarred they are,” Clark said.
While this hashtag has brought awareness, there is still room for improvement in terms of educating the public on identifying types of abuse.
It’s time we recognize the seriousness of domestic violence and how frequently it happens.
Emotional abuse is hidden from the eyes of society, it’s not as blatant as a bruise or the police showing up to your house, it’s subtle and it’s not being talked about enough.
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