Denial is a pretty strong defense against the difficult truths that we aren’t yet ready to see. As long as we cling to our fantasy images of painful realities, nothing will change! In this entry, I want to ask some questions designed to break through the denial of abuse. (This is Part 3. If you missed Parts 1 & 2, you can click here to read them.)

Quite awhile ago, I was a volunteer in a domestic violence shelter for several years. Each time a new client would come in, we would use this series of questions, called the CSR Abuse Index, to help us and the client determine the severity of the abuse. The questions I’m using here are from that index. The possible answers for questions 1 through 14 are: Frequently (3 points), Sometimes (2 points), Rarely (1 point), or Never (0 points). For questions 15 through 27, the points increase to Frequently (6 pts.), Sometimes (5 pts.), Rarely (4 pts.), or Never (0 pts.) Record your points for each question and then add them together at the end. The higher the number, the more serious the situation.

The questions from the CSR Abuse Index are:

  1. Are you asked to continually monitor your time and made to account for every minute?
  2. Are you ever accused of having an affair or does your partner act suspicious that you are?
  3. Is your partner ever rude to your friends?
  4. Does your partner discourage you from starting friendships with others?
  5. Do you ever feel isolated and alone, as if there was nobody close to you to confide in?
  6. Is your partner overly critical of daily things, such as your cooking, your clothes, or your appearance?
  7. Does your partner demand a strict account of how you spend money?
  8. Does your partner’s moods change radically, from very calm to very angry, or vice versa?
  9. Is your partner disturbed by you working or by the thought of you working?
  10. Does your partner become angry more easily after drinking?
  11. Does your partner pressure you for sex much more often than you’d like?
  12. Does your partner become angry if you don’t want to go along with the request for sex?
  13. Do you quarrel over financial matters?
  14. Do you quarrel much about having children or raising them?
  15. Does your partner ever strike you with his/her hand or feet (slap, punch, kick, etc.)?
  16. Has your partner ever struck you with an object?
  17. Does your partner ever threaten you with an object or weapon?
  18. Has your partner ever threatened to kill his/herself or you or the children?
  19. Does your partner ever give you visible injuries (such as welts, bruises, cuts, lumps on head)?
  20. Have you ever had to be treated for any injuries from the violence?
  21. Have you ever had to seek professional aid for any injury at a medical clinic, doctor’s office or hospital emergency room?
  22. Does your partner ever hurt you sexually or make you have intercourse against your will?
  23. Is your partner ever violent toward children?
  24. Is your partner ever violent toward other people outside your home and family?
  25. Does your partner throw objects or break things when he/she is angry?
  26. Has your partner ever been in trouble with the police?
  27. Have you ever called the police or tried to called them because you felt you or other members of your family were in danger due to your partner’s actions?

Compare your score with the chart below:

  • 120-94 Dangerously Abusive
  • 93-37 Seriously Abusive
  • 36-15 Moderately Abusive
  • 14-0 Non-abusive (Be cautious if any of your scoring is for potentially violent acts.)

Please seriously consider these questions and your score if you have any concerns about your own relationship, or the relationship of someone you know. No one deserves to be abused, and we all need to take Domestic Violence seriously. If there is danger for violence, please carefully read my caution below:

I’m repeating this from Part 2 because it is critically important information: There is help available. Many areas have their own domestic violence programs, but no matter where you live, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, available 24/7/365. That number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). *CAUTION*: If you are being abused, do not click on this site from your home computer. You do not want your abuser to be able to see it on the “history of use.” You can go to the public library or a trusted friend or family member and use a different computer. If you call the 800 number, be sure that you do this when you know you will not be overheard or disturbed during the call by your abuser.Be careful using your cell phone, since a record of the numbers dialed can be checked. Do not take unnecessary chances of putting yourself in additional danger! The highest danger time is when an abuser thinks the “loved” one may leave!”

* Part 4 will be the final in this series. It will detail what you can do to help you stay safe while you’re in an abusive relationship, while you are considering leaving.

* To go back and read either Part 1 or 2 — or both, click here.

Until next time,


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