Stories of dating violence
According to the National Center on PTSD, due to women’s higher likelihood of experiencing trauma, including domestic violence, they have a 10 percent chance of developing the condition, while men’s odds stand at 4 percent.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists the criteria for a clinical PTSD diagnosis. D., director of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health, tells SELF that the way trauma manifests in individuals is very personal.
The symptoms, she explains, are often complex or layered, and can include flashbacks, emotional distress, physical reactions to upsetting memories, forgetting key parts of the traumatic event, emotional numbness, trouble focusing, and more.
Although survivors of domestic violence who develop PTSD can experience it in a variety of ways, “survivors are often people whose sanity, well-being, and mental health were actively being undermined by their partners,” Dr. Sometimes triggers persist well after a survivor has left the abusive relationship.
Sometimes all it takes is a whiff of familiar cologne to make Sophia*, 25, remember the feel of her abuser’s fingers around her neck.
“With my former [partner], I could tell by how the gravel crunched in the driveway whether or not I was in for it that night,” she tells SELF.
"She would have to remind me to eat and help me go grocery shopping.
The best way to describe it is that I was a zombie." Scared that her abuser would find her, Sophia was often too afraid to leave the house.
A friend stayed with her in her apartment, and Sophia literally followed her from room to room.
"I wasn’t able to take care of myself," Sophia tells SELF.