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Short film shows that the signs of emotional abuse aren’t always obvious

Nearly one in three women will be a victim of domestic violence, according to the National Council on Domestic Violence — and many of those range from 18 to 34 years old.

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Physical violence is one of the most recognizable forms of partner abuse, but emotional abuse is prevalent as well — and it’s not always so obvious. Emotional abuse ranges from awful, demeaning comments to subtle gaslighting to passive-aggressive comments meant to take a person down. The worst part is that it’s not always obvious — and this is exactly the subject of the NSFW short film Unhealthy Relationships, published by BuzzFeed. The 15-minute clip by Ali Vingiano and Brittany Ashley shows the experience of two couples — one same-sex and one heterosexual — on a weekend trip away.

“We hadn’t seen emotional abuse honestly depicted much in TV or media, and we especially hadn’t seen a story showing it within a lesbian relationship,” Vingiano told the Huffington Post of why they made the film.

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The acts depicted in the film are so subtle that you’ve likely seen some variation of them, either in a personal relationship or in that of friends and family. That’s the most devastating part of this; it’s way more common than many people assume and sometimes the abusers don’t even realize they’re doing it.

“We wanted to show how hard it can be to realize you’re in an unhealthy relationship, and how abuse isn’t always physical,” Vingiano added.

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