Defining Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. (US Dept. Of Justice) This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
- Physical Abuse: Grabbing, Pinching, Shoving, Slapping, Hair pulling, Biting and Denying medical care, etc.
- Sexual Abuse: Marital Rape; Forcing sex after physical beating; Attacks on sexual parts of the body; Treating another in a sexually demeaning manner; Coercing; Attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent or tries to hurt you with weapons or objects during sex
- Economic Abuse: Making a person financially dependent; Attempting to make a person financially dependent; Maintaining total control over financial resources; Withholding access to money; Forbidding attendance at school and forbidding attendance at work
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining a person's sense of self-worth; Constant criticism; Belittling one's abilities; Name Calling; Damaging a partner's relationship with the children; Punishes you by withholding affection and expects you to ask permission
- Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; Threatening physical harm to self; Threatening physical harm to children; Destruction of pets and property; Mind Games and forcing isolation from friends, family, school or work.
Understanding Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is caused by a need to have power and control over an intimate partner. Violence is a part of an effective strategy for creating and Making a Safety Plan. Safety with a Protective order /calling the police.
Preparing for a violent incident
- When with the abuser, try to keep away from rooms containing dangerous objects, such as the kitchen, or the bathroom.
- Identify rooms with an exit. Know which doors, windows, elevators or stairs to use
- Keep a packed bag with a friend, a relative or a neighbor. Be sure to include copies of important documents.
- Tell one or more neighbors about the violence and ask them to call the police if they see or hear a disturbance.
- Create a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police. Have a plan! Know where you will go if you decide to leave your home.
Preparing to leave
- Get your own post office box.
- Open a checking/savings account in your name.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes and/or medicine in a safe place or with someone you trust.
- Identify a friend or relative willing to provide a safe place for you and your children to stay or who can lend you money.
- Always keep with you important numbers and some change or a calling card for emergency phone calls.
- If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place.
Safety with a Protective Order
- Always keep a copy of your protective order with you, including in your car, at work, at home and with close relatives.
- Inform family members, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect. Call the police if your abuser violates the protective order.
- Always have a backup plan you can use while waiting on the police to respond.
- Always ask for police report numbers after calling thepolice.
Safety in your day to day life
- Keep all windows and doors locked.
- Develop a safety plan with your children.
- Inform your child(ren)’s school, day care, or anyone who cares for your children what individuals have permission to pick up your children.
- Inform neighbors if your abuser no longer lives with you and ask them to call the police if they see the abuser.
- Request to have your telephone number unlisted/unpublished.
- Never call the abuser from your home or tell him where you live.
Safety on the job in public
- Have someone with you at all times. Use a variety of routes to and from home each day.