Domestic abuse can come in all forms, but many associate the act primarily with physical abuse. While you may not see scars or bruising, emotional and verbal abuse is just as harmful.
Using the #MaybeHeDoesn’tHitYou hashtag, hundreds of women tweeted their stories of abuse. The tag, created by Afro-Latina artist and writer Zahira Kelly, went viral as stories of continuous emotional control and criticism flooded timelines.
Kelly told The Huffington Post that she started sharing stories about her own experience with emotional abuse, as well as friends’ accounts, to show that verbal or controlling abuse is just as painful as physical abuse.
“The initial tweets were about me and people close to me,” Kelly told The Huffington Post. “Abuse culture is something most women experience, and at higher rates for women of color like me. But we get very little support for it and are rarely equipped to suss it out.”
The powerful hashtag has sparked widespread discussion on Twitter. The tweets range from threats men have given to fear, manipulation and humiliation:
#maybeHeDoesntHitYou but threw a huuuge raging weeks long miserable fit coz u cut your hair ‘without his permission’.
— Planet Thickness (@bad_dominicana) May 2, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he won’t let you go home or see your friends very often or at all.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) May 9, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he threatens to kill himself when you muster up the strength to leave. So you stay and are manipulated even more.
— Nneka M. Okona (@afrosypaella) May 8, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he threatens your financial security, undermines your authority & constantly tells you you are nothing without him.
— Nengi Willie-Pepple (@RunwayRibbons) May 2, 2016
According to domestic violence resource Safe Horizon, one in every four women will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime. Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
Sadly, most cases won’t be reported.
If you need help, call the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for anonymous help at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).