This 1 Little-Known Sign of Abuse Will Make You Question Everything

When on the look-out for signs that a relationship is abusive, it’s common to watch for crystal clear signs of struggle and pain. But what about looking for signs that are a little more subtle? Many instances of relationship abuse go unrecorded — not because the individuals stay silent, but because no one else has any idea.

There is one subtle sign (see page 6), however, that should set off an alarm that someone may have been a victim of abuse. And it will make you question everything you know about relationships.

For starters, what counts as abuse?

Man yelling at woman

Not all abuse is presented the same way. |

An abusive relationship is when one partner forces unwarranted harm on the other. The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness explains that relationship abuse takes on many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.

The terrifying statistics

Man and woman sad and confused

This is a tough subject to address. |

The prevalence of abuse in relationships is shocking. According to Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. The same report says that 48% of abusive incidences occur when the victim is in their own home.

How often is relationship abuse reported?

Young couple looking at bank statement

The reported number of cases is probably not even accurate. |

Per a U.S. News report from 2015, instances of domestic violence have decreased over the last few decades. That being said, they report that many cases still go unreported. A shocking report revealed that a whopping 70% of domestic violence instances actually go unreported.

The relationships most prone to abuse

Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in college library.

Rape is common on college campuses. | Ammentorp Lund

The same U.S. News report states that relationship abuse is more common in dating than it is in established marriages. It is also common on college campuses, with 19% of undergraduate women reporting attempted assault.

Who the most common targets are

A college student holds a sign reading " Stop All The Violence as she participates in the College Bride's Walk from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.

Young women are the most common targets of relationship abuse. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Young women are reportedly the most common target of relationship abuse. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women 18-years-old and older have been victims of physical violence by their partner. About 77% of females ages 18 to 24 and 76% aged 25 to 34 have been assaulted by the same intimate partner more than once.

The 1 little-known sign

Students moving in

It’s hard to tell if you are in an abusive relationship if you feel your needs are being met. | mangostock/GettyImages

Perhaps the most terrifying thing about an abusive relationship is that the victim can’t always identify that they are in one. And, as Psychology Today explains, we don’t always see the subtle signs of abuse because we are in that relationship. “Relationships fill our needs,” the article says. “And, when our needs are being met, we don’t necessarily have an imperative to take a look at how they are being met.”

Where to get help

two women working on a computer together

There are plenty of options to get help. |

Again, many cases of relationship abuse go unreported. But when they are reported, there is plenty of help. There are many phone numbers and websites out there that specialize in different types of relationship abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a chat forum in addition to multiple phone numbers so that you can seek aid at any time.