Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.
defined by: domesticviolence.org
What is Abuse? – A Warning List†
Many people who are being abused do not see themselves as victims. Also, abusers do not see themselves as being abusive. People often think of domestic violence as physical violence, such as hitting. However, domestic violence takes other forms, such as psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Domestic violence is about one person in a relationship using a pattern of behaviors to control the other person. It can happen to people who are married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.
If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you;
- pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting
- threatening you, your children, other family members or pets
- threatening suicide to get you to do something
- using or threatening to use a weapon against you
- keeping or taking your paycheck, keeping you from getting a job
- puts you down or makes you feel bad
- forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like
- keeping you from seeing your friends, family or from going to work
YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED!! REMEMBER
- You are not alone
- It is not your fault
- Help is available
Remember threatened or actual physical violence may be illegal. Consider calling the police for help
Call the police
If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, you can call 911 or your local police. HAVEN may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
Consider the following:
- If you are in danger when the police come, they can protect you.
- They can help you and your children leave your home safely.
- They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
- They can arrest your abuser if a personal protection order (PPO) has been violated.
- When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call.
- If you have been hit, tell the police where. Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body. Marks may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court.
- If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
- The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
- The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime.
- Get the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
- A police report can be used to help you get a PPO.
Get support from friends and family
Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened.
Find a safe place
It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done. But sometimes it is the only way you will be safe. There are shelters that can help you move to a different city or state. HAVEN can put you in touch with them.
Get medical help
If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Domestic violence advocates (people to help you) may be called to the hospital. They are there to give you support. You may ask medical staff to call one for you.
Medical records can be important in court cases. They can also help you get a PPO. Give all the information about your injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.
Special medical concerns
- Sometimes you may not even know you are hurt.
- What seems like a small injury could be a big one.
- If you are pregnant and you were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor. Many abusers hurt unborn children.
- Domestic violence victims can be in danger of closed head injuries. This is because their abusers often hit them in the head. If any of these things happen after a hit to the head, get medical care right away.
- Memory loss
Problems with eyesight
Headache that will not go away
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474
Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)