Learn the Facts:
What to Do if You are in an Abusive Relationship:
Call the police or 9-1-1.
If you are in danger or need immediate assistance or protection, call 9-1-1. If the police come to your home or you go to the precinct to file a report of abuse, threats, stalking, etc., obtain the police report number.
Share Your Concerns With Someone Whom you Trust.
If you ever suspect that your partner has abusive tendencies or has abused you, you should disclose to a close friend, close co-worker, church member, pastor, or family member what is happening in the relationship. DO NOT be ashamed or embarrassed. You will also need assistance in helping you make a safety plan or help in finding services if you should ever need it.
Talk to a Trained Professional
Contact your local victim assistance program, outreach center, trained counselor, or local attorney. Local outreach centers may be able to provide crisis intervention services such as individual counseling, support groups, emergency and relocation assistance, financial aid, advocacy with housing, accompaniment to the courts, hospital and police station contacts, as well as other information and referrals.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)799-7233. Please Know that You are not alone.
Make a Safety Plan.
Even before you notice potential signs of an abuser, please find a place you can go to if you need to leave home quickly, such as a friend’s or family member’s house, hotel or domestic violence shelter.
Have an idea of how you will get out of the home (a window, fire escape) and how you will get away (car, bus, taxi) if you find yourself threatened or in danger. Always notify 9-1-1 first if there is any sign of danger.
Prepare a bag that contains the following: money, a change of clothes, spare keys and important documents (driver’s license, check book, medical records, birth certificates, health insurance cards, etc.). Keep this bag hidden or leave at a friend’s or family member’s house, your work, or any other safe place in case you need to leave in an emergency.
Arrange with a friend or family member to have an “emergency phrase” that your partner will not recognize so that you can alert someone of danger without your partner suspecting it. Or arrange a signal with a neighbor to let them know when you are in trouble and cannot covertly dial 9-1-1.
Report All Abuse.
Most of all REPORT all forms of abuse against you as soon as it occurs and make EVERY attempt you can to avoid being a victim of domestic violence or in the presence of a domestic abuser.
Dating and Domestic violence, sometimes called battering, family violence, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Dating and domestic violence can occur in all kinds of relationships including spousal, non-married intimate partners, family, and past relationships. People of all races, ethnicities religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both men and women.
Domestic violence can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, and/or sexual abuse. Abusers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to gain and maintain power over their victims. Some of the violence can be criminal and includes physical assault, sexual abuse, and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse may not necessarily constitute a crime in some legal systems, they are still forms of abuse and often lead to criminal violence. There are a number of dimensions to domestic violence, including:
- Mode: physical, psychological, sexual and/or social.
- Frequency: on/off, occasional and chronic.
- Severity: in terms of both psychological or physical harm and the need for treatment.
- Transitory or permanent injury: mild, moderate, severe and up to homicide.
In relationships where dating and domestic violence occurs, violent behaviors can include:
- physical abuse (including slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, biting, kicking)
- threatening to hurt you, your relatives, friends or work colleagues in some way damaging property such as furniture, the house or pets in order to frighten and intimidate you
- emotional abuse (making you feel worthless, criticizing your personality, your looks, the way you dress, constantly putting you down, threatening to hurt you, your children or your pets)
- verbal abuse (including yelling, shouting, name-calling, and swearing at you)
- sexual abuse (forcing or pressuring you to have sex or participate in any sexual activities against your will)
- financial abuse (taking control of the money, not giving you enough money to survive, forcing you to hand over your money, not letting you have any authority over how it is spent)
- threatening to stop providing care for you if you don’t do what you are told (This sometimes happens to people with an illness, disability or impairment who rely on another person to care for them)
- social abuse (controlling where you go, not letting you see your friends or family)
- depriving you of basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care and the company of other people such as your family and friends
- spiritual abuse (forcing you to attend religious activities against your wishes, prohibiting you from participating in the religious practices of your choice)
- stalking (constantly following you by foot or car, constantly calling you by phone, text message and email, or staying outside your house or workplace)
- Or anything else that upsets you or makes you feel threatened
An important component of domestic violence, often ignored is the realm of passive abuse, leading to violence. Passive abuse is covert, subtle and veiled. This includes victimization, ambiguity, and neglect, spiritual and intellectual abuse. Estimates are that only about one third of domestic violence cases are actually reported in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or more than 10% of the U.S. population.
Some signs of domestic violence and abuse are more obvious than others; these are few of the most common questions to ask yourself to identify abuse or a potential abuser:
- Has your partner or ex-partner ever hit, slapped, kicked or punched you or someone else?
- Has your partner ever thrown anything at you or another in anger?
- Does your partner control what you do or who you see?
- Is your partner overly jealous?
- Does your partner have a Jekyll and Hyde personality?
- Can your partner express thoughts or feelings clearly or allow you to express your
- Does your partner get violent when drinking or using drugs?
- Is your partner able to empathize with you at all?
- Does your partner call you names or put you down making you ashamed of who you are?
- Does your partner fail to respect you or others when you say “no?”
- Has your partner ever forced or intimidated you to have sex?
- Does your partner have a quick temper that frightens you?
- How does your partner react to your success?
- Does your partner or ex-partner stalk or secretly follow you?
- Does your partner try to isolate you from your friends and family?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, stalking is defined as “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” A stalker can be a stranger, but most stalkers know their stalking victims and is often a partner, an ex-partner, a family member, co-worker, or an acquaintance.
An estimated 3.4 million people become stalking victims in the United States each year. Every state has laws against stalking. Although laws vary by state, stalking is generally considered to be any unwanted contact between a stalker and his/her victim which directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear.
Anyone can become a victim of stalking regardless of age, gender, or other differences.
You may be being stalked if someone is:
- Repeatedly following or spying on you
- Repeatedly calling your home and/or work
- Repeatedly sending unwanted e-mails, letters, faxes
- Leaving unwanted gifts or items for you to find
- Vandalizing or damaging your property
- Threatening you or someone close to you
- Repeatedly showing up for no legitimate purpose at places where you are
Stalking is a crime that can happen to anyone, and often victims know who their stalkers are. Being a victim of stalking can be terrifying, and stalking can interrupt your life at home, at work, and at school, and affect your relationships with your friends, family, and co-workers. You may feel afraid for your life and that you have no privacy or no place to turn. All stalkers should be considered unpredictable. If the above experiences are part of your life, you should contact the police immediately and each time you are stalked.
Like Deanna’s Voice, there are organizations who care and who want to provide the assistance you are seeking and deserve.
Deanna’s Voice is not a crisis center and does not provide emergency services including: crisis intervention, counseling, housing, legal or financial assistance. Deanna’s Voice has identified the following resources that are available to victims of domestic violence.
National Domestic Violence Hotline www.ndvh.org
Serves as the only center in the nation that provides information regarding 5,000 local and nationwide shelters and service providers available for victims, friends and family who often call for life saving help. The Hotline operates 24 hours a day in over 150 languages with a TTY line available for the deaf. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Local Dallas Domestic Violence Shelters www.dallasdvresources.org
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network www.rainn.org
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN operates the 24 hour National Sexual Assault Hotline which will transfer you to the rape crisis center nearest you, and carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. Call 1- (800) 656-4673.
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline www.loveisrespect.org
This confidential and free hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 866-331-9474 or TDD 866-331-8453. You also can get help through a live online chat from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time), and you can ask questions through email at the helpline’s contact page
1 is 2 Many http://www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many
Young women face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. The White House is focusing its longstanding commitment to reducing violence against women specifically on teens and young women ages 16-24 through the 1 is 2 Many campaign.
This program is designed to improve the health and safety of women and children. Project Connect is a national initiative to change how adolescent health, reproductive health, and Native health services respond to sexual and domestic violence
Violence Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/index.html
This website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on the impact of violence and resources to help prevent violence in communities.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline http://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline
This confidential and free hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English or Spanish. Call 800-656-4673. You can get live online help through the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Women’s Health: Violence Against Women
The Office on Women’s Health provides national leadership and coordination to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education and model programs
Controlling Anger — Before it Controls You http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx
Report from the American Psychological Association that works to help men understand and manage their anger and offers problem solving and communication skills.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
History of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates for survivors of abuse across the nations who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels.
These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died as a result of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end the cycle of violence and abuse.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.ncadv.org
Symbolism of the Purple Ribbon
What began close to two decades ago in scattered communities as a visible gesture of support for survivors and victims of domestic violence, today has become one of the most widely-recognized symbols of the movement-the purple ribbon.
Across the country, families and friends of victims have adopted the purple ribbon to remember and honor their loved ones who have lost their lives at the hands of a person they once loved and trusted. Shelters and local programs use the purple ribbon to raise awareness about the crime of domestic violence in their communities. The purple ribbon also has been recognized by State Legislatures in proclamations commemorating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
List of Domestic Violence Coalitions by State
Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence
District of Columbia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (Jane Doe, Inc.)
Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Minnesota Coalition For Battered Women
Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition
Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence
New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women
New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Puerto Rico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Texas Council on Family Violence
Utah Domestic Violence Council
Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Virginians Against Domestic Violence
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911