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Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall 2014


Promoting Positive Solutions

Dr. Rhoda Olkin and Dr. Stephanie T. Machell

Partner abuse has been front and center in the news lately. We asked our two columnists to address the issue for people with disabilities.

Dr. Olkin addresses male to female partner abuse in heterosexual relationships:

If you are being abused by a partner, I want to say two things to you right at the start: (a) You are not alone; (b) It is not your fault. And the third thing is that there is help and hope, but you have to take the first step.

Let’s back up and discuss what we know about partner abuse. There are early warning signs: he came on strong at first, with lots of romance; isolating you from friends and family; being suspicious of you and your whereabouts; getting angry over small things; calling you names or putting you down; speaking disparagingly of women in general and previous partners specifically; he is possessive and jealous; he does favors for you that put you in his debt; he pressures you or forces you to have sex; he treats you one way in public and another way in private; nothing is ever his fault. Abuse never stops on its own, and the level of abuse tends to escalate over time. Women are more likely to be killed by a partner than a stranger (this is not true for men).


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