Domestic violence is no longer a hidden threat to our nation’s families. Today, people talk about the crime of domestic violence on T.V., in the newspapers, and in magazines all the time. The fact that people are talking about it, however, has not made it go away. According to the F.B.I., one out of every two women in this country will be in an abusive relationship in her lifetime. People are suffering every day at the hands of someone they love. The brochures and information found below explain some of the questions people have about domestic violence.
Months to Remember
National Stalking Awareness Month
National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
National Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Types of Domestic Violence:
- Physical: Any form of assault committed against a spouse/significant other, children, or pets
- Sexual: Engaging in any form of sexual activity without consent is abuse even if the person is married/intimate partner
- Emotional: Using emotions as a weapon to have power or control over the spouse/intimate partner
- Economic: Using money to keep the spouse/significant other financially powerless.
Cycle of Domestic Violence:
- Tension-building stage: The batterer becomes increasingly tense and angry. The victim holds herself responsible for the batterer’s unhappiness. The batterer becomes verbally abusive, and may commit some minor physical abuse or destroy the victim’s personal property.
- Explosive stage: The batterer’s violence is out of control and out of proportion to the situation. People who try to help the victim may also be in danger during this stage.
- Honeymoon stage: The batterer apologizes to the victim, and seems truly sorry for the assault. Often, the batterer will promise that the violence will never happen again. This can sometimes cause the victim to reunite with the batterer. Despite the batterer’s promises during the honeymoon stage, without help from counseling and other outside sources.
NOTHING will prevent the violence from happening again.
Domestic violence slowly destroys the lives of all people who are involved in a violent relationship: batterer, victim, and children. If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. Please don’t be afraid to ask.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS BEING ABUSED
- If you hear sounds of violence, call the police. Don’t put yourself in danger or wait for the situation to resolve itself.
- Secretly provide the suspected victim with the telephone number to a local shelter or counseling and support services. You can say that you are passing them out to everyone you know.
- Offer your support. Many victims may feel isolated, fearful, and/or angry. Being a good listener can help.
WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU THINK SOMEONE IS BEING ABUSED
- Don’t try to break up the fight. Leave the police work to the police. Call 911.
- Don’t confront the batterer. Instead, urge the victim to call for help.
- Don’t jump to conclusions about why a victim may be staying in a relationship. No one likes being abused. It often takes a long time for a victim to leave.
- Don’t offer to let a victim of domestic violence stay in your house without thinking about it first. You could be placing your own family in danger. Offer to help get a victim into a shelter instead
Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.
Does your partner…
____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
____ Put down your accomplishments or goals?
____ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
____ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?
____ Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
____ Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
____ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
____ Blame you for how they feel or act?
____ Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
____ Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
____ Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with your friends or family?
____ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?
____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
____ Stay with you partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke-up?
If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.