What is Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is is abusive behavior in a relationship. Most of the time the violence is used by one partner to gain control of the other. Domestic violence isn't just physical abuse. Domestic violence can be sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological; and it can happen to anyone no matter what age, gender, race, or social status.
Signs of Domestic Violence
Signs from the victim:
- Withdrawal from others
- Depression ( Signs may include crying, or poor eye contact, )
- Suicidal tendencies
- Substance abuse
- Broken or fractured body parts
- Scared of their abuser
- Constant pain of the body
- Unexplained injuries (Bruising of the head, body and arms; Loose, broken, or missing teeth; Bite marks; Rope burns; Welts.
Signs from the abuser:
- Overly controlling or coercive
- Attempts to answer all questions addressed to the victim
- Isolating the victim from others
- Aggressiveness towards the victim
- Constantly putting down the victim or humiliating them
- Hitting, slapping, punching, biting, grabbing kicking or any other physical abuse
- Threatening the victim
- Destroying the victims property, or taking it away
How to Get Out of a Domestic Violence Situation
Prepare A Plan
- Prepare for emergencies
- Know your abusers red flags so you can prepare yourself when your abuser gets ready to explode in anger or violence
- Identify safe areas of the house so that you can easily escape. Avoid small enclosed areas, and places with weapons. Try to go to an open space with an exit and a phone.
- Come up with a code word for others in the house, or near you so they can know to get away and get help.
- Make an escape plan
- Be ready to leave as quick as possible if possible hide spare car keys, money, clothes, and important documents or phone numbers
- Practice escaping quickly and safely, come up with an escape plan and if you have children have them practice also.
- Make and memorize a list of important contacts so that you can call them when you need help
Why Do Victims Stay?
- Low self-esteem
- Hope for change
- Pressure from friends and family
- Doesn't know that help is available
How Can Friends and Family Help
- Be supportive and listen: Let them know that it's not their fault, let them know that they are not alone and that you will be there for them.
- Don't be judgmental: Respect the decisions that they make and do not criticize or try to guilt them on decisions that they make.
- If they end the relationship continue to support them: Even though the relationship is over they may still feel sad and lonely and will need your support at that time.
- Help them create their safety plan: Help them create a plan to prepare to leave, or if they have already left.
- Encourage them to participate in activities out side of their relationship: Help them get out and gain trust with different family members. This can also make them happy, because they are not always stuck in the house
- Encourage them to talk to people who can give them help and guidance:1-800-799-SAFE is the number where you can call to get a referral to a local domestic violence agency and offer to go with them.
- Remember that you can't "Rescue" them: They are the ones who have to decide to get out of their relationship when they are ready, they need your support.
Where to Get Help
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
You can also seek help from friends, family, and the authorites