While physical domestic abuse is a serious issue, there is a common assumption that "abuse" only means behavior that leaves bruises and scars. But abuse happens in many different ways, and now people are using the hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou to shed light on less noticed abuses.
The hashtag apparently began with writer and artist Zahira Kelly, who first tweeted it on May 2.But the phrase only gained traction in the past day, with thousands of Twitter users speaking up about such abuses as victim blaming, coercion, gaslighting, and other forms of economic and emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is often harder to pinpoint than physical abuse, and many studies on domestic abuse focus on physical violence, sexual violence, and stalking. But existing statistics show that emotional and verbal abuse are unfortunately incredibly common.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “48.4 percent of women and 48.8 percent of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner,” and “17.9 percent of women have experienced a situation where an intimate partner tried to keep them from seeing family and friends.”
Another statistic cited by the anti-abuse group Safe Voices reflects the early age at which emotional abuse can begin.
According to the group, 62 percent of tweens “say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc) by a boyfriend [or] girlfriend,” while “nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up.”