By Evonne Ermey
Maybe he doesn’t hit you, but does that mean it isn’t abuse?
The trending Twitter hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou has curated more than 55,000 tweets, a devastating reminder that abuse is not always physical.
“Abuse is often seen as very cut and dry, and only physical. For several years now on social media, on a daily basis I’ve talked about many different forms of abuse and what they look like,” said the hashtag’s creator Zahira Kelly in an interview with the BBC.
Kelly, who did not anticipate the hashtag’s popularity, writes an advice column for the non-profit magazine “The New Inquiry.”
Many who’ve adopted the hashtag are women, sharing stories of abuse: stories of partners who use material possessions, shame and humiliation to control their victims.
“#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he calls to say your child died in a freak accident so you “can know what it feels” to be scared. #abuserlogic” read one chilling tweet.
The 140-character confessions have resonated strongly across the Twittersphere. But is this surprising, considering the CDC estimates that nearly half of all women and men have been victims of psychological abuse by their partner?
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s description of abuse includes “yelling, calling them a failure, threatening, mocking, isolating, manipulating,” and “telling them they are stupid” among other non-physical actions.
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou addresses abuse that hides in plain site, affects many, and often goes unidentified.
If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse you can contact the San Diego Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200 or Women’s Resource Center