The Faces of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence comes in many forms; living with a violent roommate can fall under Domestic Violence according to Kansas Law 

November 27, 2015 4:30 am


*Wake up! Wake up!*

I crack my door to see what was going on. For the 3rd time this month my roommate is knocking on everyone’s door as though we are in boot camp, and must be in formation for inspections before the sun comes up. Personally, I am tired of this. So, unlike the rest of my roommates, I lock my door, and put my earbuds in my ear. I start playing ocean sounds as loud as my phone will allow, in hopes of lulling myself back to sleep. In the background. I hear my roommate yelling about the temperature that the thermostat was set on, what follows are inaudible murmurs from the others that reside in the apartment. I close my eyes and drift off as the waves collide into each other. 

Later on, that morning. 10:00 am

All of the roommates, except for Shelby, the “early riser”. My roommates sit at the kitchen table making small movements as they eat their meals in fear that the warden may rise once again. I sit and observe the panic and neurotic actions that they are taking to appease Shelby. Our room was once vivacious, filled with morning laughter, and stories from our childhood or the events that occurred the previous night. But now all cheerfulness has abruptly emitted from the two ladies in front of me. As we wrap up our withdrawn meal, Shelby arises smiling at me with smugness and turning to the other roommates with a quick snap of the neck. She begins criticizing how Sharon looked in her maroon sweater, plaid pants, and beat-up white converse. Sharon is an aspiring film producer, with a trendy but relaxed sense of style. She expresses herself through her art. She puts the emotions that she has towards Shelby in the scripts that she writes, and the short films that she has created. Without missing a beat Shelby pokes her chest out to Emily and begins “imitating” her by talking in a deep voice and walking with an uneven gait. Emily currently has a broken foot so the manner in which she walks is more of a limp, and the mass of her boot has resulted in her presence to be known through the loud thuds of that the boot makes way before you see her petite 5’3 frame. Her once witty behavior has ceased, because of the trepidation that has overcome her when interacting with Shelby.

These interactions have been increasing in frequency over the course of a few months. The episodes began in late September early October after Shelby changed her major, found a new partner, and came back home from fall break. The script was modified without the director’s approvals, and this new dynamic has become the norm. Our current lifestyle has activated sleepless nights and copious amount of anxiety. Stepping on eggshells waiting for the next eruption feels like more of a reality than an analogy. My grades begin to dissipate and the stress that accumulated forced me to be hospitalized with a diagnosis of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

    Though this story is fictitious, domestic violence comes in all forms. The media focuses on cases that concern marriage or those that are dating. What often is overlooked is the emotional, psychological, economic, verbal, isolation, and male privilege components of domestic violence. The Kansas definition is stated below:

(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm by a family or household member against a family or household member; or

(2) Knowingly causing physical contact with a family or household member by a family or household member when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner

Shelby was emotionally, psychologically and verbally abusive. By the laws mentioned above, the situation is considered domestic violence. Being cognizant of the many forms that domestic violence comes in and the toll that it can take on someone can make the difference between someone’s sanity, their life, and freedom. 

Listed below are a few signs of what domestic violence could look like:

  1. Choking/ holding a person down against their will
  2. Criticizing
  3. Cruel and hurtful remarks
  4. Degrading a person in public
  5. Feeling small as a result of someone yelling at you
  6. Following or stalking a person
  7. Forced sex
  8. Locks you in or out of your residence
  9. Threats of Suicide
  10. You’ve been cut off from family and friends

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Domestic Violence can take form in many ways. Lastly, seek help if you are experiencing any form of abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a resource that anyone can use, along with finding local resources on



The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Phone Number: 1-800-799-7233   & 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) En Español
  • Website:  (there is a chat line that operates 24/7 365 days out of the year and a Spanish chat line that operates from 12- 6 p.m. Central Time)