Tomorrow I will be speaking at an event in Philadelphia on domestic violence. I feel very strongly about educating and assisting those who have been exposed to, or suffered from domestic violence or spousal abuse. If you are interested in attending this event, or hosting one of your own please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a copy of the handout I will be providing:
You lose more than you think in domestic abuse. You lose friends, you lose family, you lose choices, you lose freedoms, you lose control over your body, and you lose YOURSELF. Domestic abuse robs you of your identity; making you a character in your abuser’s fantasy.
- Domestic abuse can happen to ANYONE- heterosexuals, homosexuals, young couples, elderly couples, blacks, whites, Latinos, white-collar-workers, blue-collar-workers, women and men. Domestic abuse is blind.
- Domestic abusers want to CONTROL their partners and will do so with verbal and emotional abuse, as well as physical and sexual violence.
- To maintain control over a partner, an abuser will use guilt, shame, fear, intimidation, and threats of harm against you, your friends, or those closest to you- even a family pet. They do this to keep you under their COMPLETE CONTROL.
- Domestic abusers will wear you down over time to gain control, and escalation is ALWAYS present in cases of domestic abuse. The abuse can escalate from verbal attacks and belittling, to threats of physical violence, to violence, and even rape.
- Not all abuse involves physical violence. You don’t need to be covered in bruises and battered to be in an abusive relationship- MANY women and men suffer from emotional abuse which can be just as destructive.
- Emotional abuse can include belittling, yelling, name-calling, blaming, shaming, isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior. Emotional abuse is meant to chip away your feelings of SELF WORTH and independence.
- Domestic abuse makes you FEEL there is NO WAY OUT of an abusive relationship, and without your abusive partner you have nothing.
- Abusers are not “out of control” as they would have you believe. Abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate CHOICE made by the abuser in order to control you.
- Abusers don’t assault, threaten and harm everyone in their life- only those they CHOOSE to abuse.
- Abusers carefully choose the times they abuse their partner, they will HIDE their behavior in public and LASH OUT when they are alone with their partner.
- Abusers can immediately STOP their behavior whenever it suits them; such as when the police show up or they receive a phone call, or they are trying to convince an abused partner that the abuse will stop.
- Abusers carefully choose the targets they hit on their partner’s body. They do not blindly attack their partner, they AIM and direct strikes to areas where bruises and marks won’t show.
Abusers are VERY good at controlling and manipulating their partners. Victims of emotional abuse or physical abuse and battery are almost always depressed, scared, ashamed, and confused by their situation. They need to get out of their abusive relationships, but have often been isolated from their family and friends- making escape difficult. Abusers apologize and act very loving and kind in between episodes of abuse; this behavior can make it even more difficult to leave the relationship. An abuser may make their partner feel they are the only ones that can help the abuser, and that things will change. An abuser will make their partner feel intensely loved during these times, but staying in an abusive relationship is DANGEROUS.
BE AWARE. BE SMART. BE SAFE.
Protect yourself from sexual assault.
- ALWAYS be AWARE– Be aware of your surroundings. Trust your gut. If your gut says “danger”- GET OUT.
- NO ONE has the right to put their hands on you.
- TELL your roommate or a friend WHERE you are going for the night, WHEN you plan to return, and HOW they can get in touch with you.
- ALWAYS use the buddy system when going out. DO NOT leave your buddy even if they appear “safe”. Agree that your buddy will never leave you.
- DO NOT go out without knowing HOW you’re getting home, or WHO will be driving you home. DO NOT trust a new “friend” to get you home safely- work out plans with your buddy BEFORE going out.
- NEVER let someone else Handle/Pour/Bring you your drink. If you are unsure about your drink “accidentally” spill it, or get up and get yourself another. DO NOT drink a suspicious drink.
- If you feel NAUSEOUS, DIZZY, or DRUNK after a few sips, find your buddy and LEAVE immediately. DO NOT trust anyone but your buddy to get you home safely.
- TALK your way out of a situation- use force as a last resort.
- IF you are in a situation that is becoming dangerous CALL THE POLICE immediately.
- IF you are assaulted or believe you have been the victim of date rape, get in touch with the police or your school’s Rape Crisis Center. You can also contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network which can connect you with a 24 hour Confidential Crisis Hotline http://www.rainn.org or 1-800-656-HOPE
Self Defense NJ: Learn proven, reality based self-defense techniques to defend yourself in hostile physical situations. Learn how to avoid conflicts before they become physical, and gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. *Offers special lessons to women and survivors of abuse and assault.* http://www.selfdefensenj.com/index.htm
Domestic Violence Self-Help Groups: Hotline and Center. Calls and groups are confidential. Helps members explore options to take back control in their life, manage present situation or build a life free of violence. Meets once a week at different locations in Middlesex County. Group is FREE call for information 732-725-1689
Women Aware Hotline: Domestic Violence Shelter, Center of calls and Advocacy group. Shelter is child friendly- bring children free of charge; provides referral service; advocacy; 24 hour hotline; support group w/facilitator; legal advocacy. Calls are FREE 732-249-4504
New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women: Domestic Violence Agencies- This is a statewide advocacy program in NJ; provides referrals to local domestic violence programs; works to encourage legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. Calls are FREE 609-584-8107
US/International Numbers: A US and Worldwide shelter and crisis number provider. Offers services in over 80 languages- acts as an online phonebook for Domestic Violence resources: http://www.hotpeachpages.net
Child Abuse Hotline: 24 hour DYFS hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect, calls can be made anonymously (800) 792-8610
Childhelp USA/Forrester National Child Abuse Hotline: Callers are provided with the opportunity to speak with a counselor and/or receive general information regarding child abuse. Hotline is available 24 hours a day (800) 424-4453
Middlesex County Public Health Department Rape Crisis Intervention Center
Breaking the Silence: a Handbook for Victims of Violence in Nebraska
Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service
NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence