Domestic Violence

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He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. — Isaiah 61:1- 3

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is recognized internationally as a human rights violation and is a crime in America.

Domestic violence is the willful act of abuse, battery, intimidation, physical and/or sexual assault perpetrated by one intimate partner against another within a systematic pattern of power and control.

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Data Source: The World Bank Group 2014 Voice and Agency Report

Understanding Domestic Violence

Six Types Of Domestic Violence

SIX TYPES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence falls into overlapping general categories: emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, spiritual, and verbal abuse. Of these, the most serious are forced abortion/femicide, homicide, and rape.

Violence in intimate partner relationships is never equal. Even if a victim fights back, the abuser is always the primary and constant perpetrator of emotional and psychological abuse, and physical and sexual violence. Abuse and violence varies in frequency and severity depending on the type of relationship.

There are Six Types of Domestic Abuse, which primarily target a spouse, child, or elder in the home:

  • Phd Thesis On Accounting Physical Abuse/Battery and Assault (Committing violence against a victim, including threatening worse and ongoing physical and/or sexual violence. (Isolation often results from an abuser constantly berating a victim over how, when, where, and with whom she spends her time, and other manipulative acts causing victims to lose their sense of autonomy.),
  • Verbal or Nonverbal Abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse; Playing on a victim’s insecurities, giving mixed messages, and constantly insulting and degrading her. Threatening to control or take away children from the victim often causes a victim to acquiesce to the abuser’s demands.),
  • Sexual Abuse (sexual assault, harassment, or exploitation),
  • Stalking or Cyberstalking (attempts to harass and control through various forms of monitoring),
  • Writing Reports For Students Economic/Financial Abuse (Controlling all monetary resources, exploiting a partner’s social security number or credit, and/or preventing a victim from accessing funds or financial documentation),
  • Spiritual Abuse (degrading, manipulating, controlling the victim’s beliefs).

The most often used violence and abuse against women are Verbal/Nonverbal, Emotional, and Physical Abuse:

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Physical Abuse, Assault, & Battery
  • Pushing, throwing, kicking,
  • Slapping, grabbing, hitting, punching, beating, tripping, battering, bruising, choking, shaking,
  • Pinching, biting,
  • Holding, restraining, confinement,
  • Breaking bones,
  • Assault with a weapon such as a knife or gun,
  • Burning,
  • Murder.
Emotional or Verbal Abuse

Mental, psychological, or emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal or nonverbal abuse is often more subtle than physical abuse. While physical abuse might seem worse, verbal and emotional abuse cause deep scars. Some studies even indicate that verbal or nonverbal abuse can be more emotionally damaging than physical abuse.

Verbal or Nonverbal Abuse 

  • Threatening or intimidating to gain compliance,
  • Threatening or destroying the victim’s personal property and possessions,
  • Harming property (a wall or furniture) or a pet in the presence of the intended victim to instill fear and anticipate further violence,
  • Yelling or screaming,
  • Name-calling,
  • Constant harassment,
  • Embarrassing, making fun of, or mocking the victim, either alone in the home, in public, or in front of family or friends,
  • Criticizing or diminishing the victim’s accomplishments or goals,
  • Not trusting the victim’s decision-making,
  • Telling the victim she is worthless on her own, without her abuser,
  • Being excessively possessive, isolating the victim from friends and family,
  • Excessively checking-up on the victim to make sure she is at home or where she said she would be,
  • Saying hurtful things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and using the substance as an excuse for saying hurtful things,
  • Blaming the victim for how the abuser acts or feels,
  • Making the victim remain on the premises after a fight, or leaving her somewhere else after a fight just to “teach her a lesson,”
  • Making the victim feel that there is no way out of the relationship.
Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual assault: forcing a victim to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity,
  • Sexual harassment: ridiculing a victim solely because of her gender in order to limit her abilities or choices,
  • Sexual exploitation (forcing a victim to look at pornography or to participate in pornographic film-making, or forcing a victim into prostitution and sex-trafficking).

Sexual abuse often is linked to physical abuse. Both may occur together or sexual abuse may follow physical abuse.

Stalking

Stalking involves harassing a victim and/or threatening that victim, especially in a devious manner to haunts her psychologically and emotionally. Stalking of an intimate partner can occur during the relationship by  intense monitoring of the partner’s activities. It often occurs after a partner or spouse has left the relationship. The stalker may try to get back their partner to harm her as punishment for leaving. Regardless of the motive, the victim is left constantly afraid for her safety.

Stalking occurs at or near the victim’s home, the workplace, on the way to the store or another destination. Stalking often involves using technology including the phone, surveillance systems, the Internet, email, or social media. A stalker may never show his face, or he may be everywhere in person.

Tactics include:

  • Repeated phone calls, sometimes with hang-ups,
  • Following, tracking with GPS or other surveillance systems,
  • Finding the victim through public records, Internet searches, or paid investigators,
  • Installing and watching hidden cameras,
  • Suddenly showing up at the victim’s home, school, or work while she is there,
  • Repeatedly sending emails,
  • Sending unwanted packages, cards, gifts, or letters,
  • Monitoring the victim’s phone calls or computer use,
  • Contacting the victim’s friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors to find out about the victim,
  • Going through the victim’s garbage,
  • Threatening to hurt the victim or her family, friends, or pets,
  • Damaging the victim’s home, car, or other property.

Stalking is unpredictable and should always be considered dangerous. Stalking can end in violence whether or not the stalker threatens to use violence and whether or not the stalker has no history of violence. Those around the victim are also in danger of being hurt. A parent, spouse, or bodyguard trying to protect the victim may be hurt or killed as the stalker pursues the victim.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the deliberate, persistent, and personal harassment of a victim using all available technology. It may be in addition to other forms of stalking or it occurs on its own. The cyberstalker methodically finds and contacts the victim using the Internet, surveillance systems, phone and GPS tracking devices, texts, social media, and email to harass his victim.

The cyberstalker’s message may be disturbing and inappropriate, and often gets around the victim’s attempts to stop or block contact. The more the victim protests or responds, or doesn’t respond at all, causes different reactions by the stalker.

Cyberstalking falls into a grey area of law enforcement. Most state and federal laws require evidence of a direct threat of likely violence being committed against the victim. An implied threat is difficult to predict and prevent from escalating into actual violence. However, cyberstalking must be taken seriously because it can advance to physical violence.

Economic & Financial Abuse
  • Threatening to and withholding financial resources like access to cash or credit cards,
  • Stealing from or defrauding a partner of money or assets,
  • Exploiting the partner’s resources for personal gain,
  • Withholding physical resources like food, clothing, medication, or shelter,
  • Preventing the spouse or intimate partner from working or choosing an occupation.
Spiritual Abuse
  • Using the spouse’s or intimate partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate her,
  • Preventing the partner from practicing them,
  • Ridiculing the partner’s religion and beliefs,
  • Forcing the children to be reared in a faith other than the victims, and against her wishes.
The History of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has not always been a crime. Today the U.S. Department of Justice says domestic violence is “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.” It is a crime that can be prosecuted in court, and the person who commits the crime will face consequences. This is a dramatic change. Historically domestic violence has not only been tolerated by government, but encouraged.

The Criminal Justice Institute explains that in the Roman Empire (753 BC to 27 BC), the woman in a marriage was considered the property of her husband. She was subject to the threat of beating, divorce, or even murder if she did anything that might affect her husband’s honor or property rights. There were a number of things in the Roman Empire that a wife could do that would give her husband the legal right to kill her, including walking outside with her face uncovered or attending a public event without permission. Crimes the husband committed against the wife were considered private, not a matter for the government be concerned with.

However, the poison of domestic violence began long before Caesar wrote his first law. The website WomenSafe details the history of domestic violence beginning in ancient times. The Code of Hammurabi, dating back to 1800 BC, established a family system where the husband was superior to all other members of the household. Therefore the husband could inflict any punishment on family members, for virtually any reason

Brown University discusses how medieval law considered any misbehavior by the wife a serious crime, best punished publically. During the middle ages, which stretched from the 5th to the 15th century, punishments for an unfaithful wife were much more severe than for an unfaithful husband. Women who were guilty of adultery were cast from their homes, and were forced to parade through the streets with their heads shaven. According to Journal of International Women’s Studies, early 18th century London exhibited countless records of such punishments. This included a bridle to suppress the tongue, which the husband could put on his wife should she misbehave.  Men who committed atrocities against women went unpunished by the state, as domestic violence was a well-established part of some patriarchal societies.

However, this long-standing practice of state-promoted abuse is not absolute. A law passed in colonial America in 1641 began to turn the tables. The “Body of Liberties” established in Massachusetts Bay declared “Every married woman shall be free from bodily correction or stripes by her husband, unless it be in his own defense upon her assault.” The Independent Women’s Forum discusses that under this law, husbands who beat their wives were subject to punishment, which could be fines, whipping, public “shaming” in church, or expulsion from the church congregation altogether.

This developed into the standard of law in the United States, and slowly other countries followed. That being said, in many countries prosecuting abusers is extremely complex. Police are often reluctant to put the abuser in jail, as the husband is often the primary breadwinner, and there was concern putting him in jail would leave the wife and children destitute. Police were not trained in how to handle the messy, complicated domestic abuse they were called to mediate in.

Analysis done by the Independent Women’s Forum examined how police inadequacies to prevent domestic violence led to lawsuits that provided a harsh wake up call. The example of Tracey Thurman served as a shock in 1984, when Tracey was repeatedly stabbed by her husband and police failed to intervene. The case reached the United States Supreme Court, and Thurman won $2.3 million in compensatory damages. Incidences like this jarred jurisdictions into empowering police to make warrantless arrests in domestic assault cases. This created the potential for a revolutionary way of responding to domestic abuse.

Today, the Washington Post estimates that there are only about 20 countries that have no laws protecting women from domestic violence. Europe and North America have the strongest laws against domestic abuse, while the rest of the world provides varying degrees of legal protection. It is incredibly difficult to estimate how much domestic abuse exists in the world today, and how effectively it is being prosecuted. These numbers show the strides that have been made towards gender equality, as well as the great gap in progress that still needs to be made.

Domestic Violence and Religion

Domestic Violence and Christianity

The fundamental teachings of Christianity are against domestic violence. The Bible is the foundation of Christianity, and the core of all traditional Christianity’s beliefs. The Bible was written during a period in history when women were given scarcely more value than property, and were bought with a price in the form of a dowry. The culture of the ancient world allowed a man to divorce his wife for virtually any reason, and offered virtually no consequences for domestic abuse. The message of Christianity was radically different from the beliefs of the Jewish and Roman culture it was presented to.

Violence is depicted in the Bible as a reflection of humanity’s sin and fallen nature. Those who commit violence are not role models, but rather examples to learn from.  One example is Psalm 11:5, written around 1062 BC, which says, “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” An additional reference is Proverbs 3:31, which says “Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways.”

The role model of marriage and family set up by the Bible for Christianity is one of mutual respect and love, with statements such as “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:2). Another passage, Colossians 3, elaborates even further by saying “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

These Christian teachings do not by any means guarantee there will be no domestic violence in homes that claim to align with Christianity. It does mean, however, that instances of domestic abuse are against the core beliefs and practices of the Christian religion. Sue Bolin writes in her article for Bible.org that Jesus, as well as many other pivotal figures in Christianity, taught of treating women and children with love and respect; an idea that was radically counter-cultural at the time.

Domestic Violence and Judaism

Judaism has always taken the approach to marriage and family that each family member serves a different, but equally important, role. These roles are clearly defined in traditional Judaism. Tracy Rich writes in her article for Judaism 101 that the role of women in Jewish culture has often been misunderstood, and misrepresented as being much lower than it is in reality. She argues that the Jewish God is neither male nor female, making the female half of the marriage equally important, but markedly different in the expectations and responsibilities she is given. By this logic, the man is not superior to the woman, and therefore does not have the right to abuse her.

However, in the time when the Torah and Tanakh were written, damage or violence against a woman was on the level of property damage. If someone hurt another man’s wife, he had to pay compensation to the husband. According to an article by Naomi Graetz on Domestic Violence and Jewish Law, some rabbis during the Middle Ages (884-1204) advocated for the beating of wives for “educational purpose.” It was typically taught that if a wife committed an offense worthy of divorce, such as “going out with uncovered head, spinning wool with uncovered arms in the street, conversing with every man.”

However, that was the teachings of Medeival rabbis, not the sacred texts of Judaism. The Faith Trust Institute explains how one of the sacred texts of Judaism, the Talmud, teaches very clearly that it is forbidden to raise a hand against another. It also forbids emotional abuse, as Jewish law prohibits belittling anyone through word or deed. The Talmud also instructs husbands to provide generously for their families, though today both partners often share this responsibility.

Domestic Violence and Islam

The religion of Islam has historically enforced a very different approach to gender roles than western religions, and as a result has a different approach to violence in the community and in the home. While many modern Muslim families do not represent the picture painted by the central figure of Islam, Muhammad, the core of the religious texts on gender roles impose male superiority. Examples includeQuran 2:228 “but the men have a degree above them [women]“, Quran 4:11 “The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” (also see verse 4:176).

There are many verses such as these throughout the holy texts of Islam that are greatly debated among scholars and apologists today. However, stories throughout the Hadith and Sira that reinforce male superiority. In Sahih Muslim 4:1039, “A’isha said [to Muhammad] ‘You have made us equal to the dogs and the asses.’” These are the words of Muhammad’s favorite wife, complaining of the role assigned to women.

The sacred law of Islam, Sharia Law, is based on the Quran and the Hadith and contains no discouragement of household violence. In addition, under Sharia Law, it is not lawful for a woman to leave the house without the permission of her husband, or to deny him sexually for any reason. These are very specific forms of domestic abuse. In addition, under this law, when a woman “commits rebelliousness,” her husband is encouraged to hit her to train her not to do this again. This comes from Quran 4:34, which says “and leave them [women] alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.”  Many contemporary scholars try to change the meaning of the word “beat” used in this verse, but it is the same word used in verse 8:12 and clearly means, “to strike,” as demonstrated by the Quranic Arabic Corpus.

Further examples can be found in Quran 38:44, where Job is praised for beating his wife with a branch, and Sahih Muslim 4:2127, where Muhammad himself strikes his favorite wife.

The interpretation of these verses varies from sect to sect of Islam, and not all Muslims agree on the correct practice. While many Muslims choose to interpret this differently and have domestic-violence free home, many forms of domestic violence are legal under Sharia Law. One of the most important things to note regarding Islam and domestic violence is that family members are commanded to execute other family members who have turned away from the faith. Under Sharia Law, there is no punishment for a parent killing a child, and anyone who commits adultery is required to be stoned to death – usually by their spouse. National Geographic News estimates thousands of women are killed for the name of family honor annually. Fox News estimates that there are about 27 people killed each year in the United States alone by their own families, because they have done something that disgraced the Islamic faith. While crimes like this are prosecuted in most modern countries, Islamic countries ruled by Sharia Law not only allow such abuse and familial violence, but also encourage it.

Domestic Violence Abusers

THE ABUSERS

Men are the overwhelming majority of domestic violence abusers.

More men than women are arrested for violent acts or for violating orders of protection.

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Research shows that men’s overall rate of violence – domestic and non-domestic – is nine times greater than that of women.

97 percent of abusers are men who have female partners:

“heterosexual men’s domestic abuse is grounded in both inequalities in power and resources between women and men and social rules for male/female relationships. This context creates entitlement for men and vulnerability for women and makes men’s violence work very well to control their female partners.”

Domestic Violence Victims

THE VICTIMS

The majority of domestic violence victims are women and girls.

In America, the women who have been most physically abused by an intimate partner are estimated to be:

  • More than 50 percent of Native American and multiracial women,
  • More than 40 percent of Black women,
  • Thirty percent of White and Hispanic women, and
  • Thirty percent of Asian/Pacific Islander women.

The National Coalition for Domestic Violence reports that nearly three in ten women and one in ten men in America:

“have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (or former partner) and reported at least one impact related to experiencing these or other forms of violence behavior in the relationship (e.g. feeling fearful, concern for safety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), need for health care, injury, crisis support, need for housing services, need for victim advocacy series, need for legal services, missed work or school).

On a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that intimate partner violence and sexual violence are “significant public health problems” and violate human rights of women and girls. In their lifetime, the WHO estimates that of victims:

  • One in three (35 percent) of women worldwide experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence and/or non-partner sexual violence.
  • Nearly one-third (33 percent) of women worldwide reported that their intimate partner committed some form of physical and/or sexual violence against them.
  • As many as 38 percent of all murders of women– worldwide– are committed by an intimate partner.
  • According to a 2013 European Union survey, 43 percent of women in 28 Member States “experienced some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
  • One-third of those abused have health problems or are disabled.
Costs Of Domestic Violence

THE COST OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The WHO identifies the physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects directly linked to domestic violence include:

  • Adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems;
  • Neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • higher rate of suicide and depression;
  • Increased reports of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Vulnerability to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because of forced intercourse and prolonged, increased stress;
  • Increased risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

The consequences of domestic violence create significant problems for children living in a household of domestic violence. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence every year, with 90 percent as eyewitnesses to crimes.

Safety Protocols For Domestic Violence Survivors

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Domestic violence survivors must recognize that they have no control over their partner’s violence. They do have control over how to respond to the abuser. They can find a safe place to live and work and have a hopeful future. Below are several guidelines to consider courtesy of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney:

SAFETY TIPS TO USE DURING A VIOLENT INCIDENT
  1. If I decide to leave, I will ___________________. (Think about how/where you can go to escape safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells or fire escapes could you use?)
  2. Have a location ready where I can keep my purse and car keys _______________________ for when I need to leave quickly.
  3. List the people I can tell _____________________________________________about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home or car.
  4. Teach my children to use the phone to contact 911, and connect to the police or fire department.
  5. Identify ___________________________________________ as a “code for help” that only my children or friends will know.
  6. Identify where to go when choose to leave. ___________________________________ (Decide this even if you don’t think there will be a next time). Have a backup plan if this location won’t work. Instead, I can go to ___________________________________________________________ or ________________________________________________________.
  7. Anticipate my response for the next argument. Try to move to a space that has the lowest risk, like,  ________________________ ____________________________________. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons, or in rooms that don’t have access to an outside door).
  8. Use intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down. I have to protect myself until I/we are out of danger.
SAFETY TIPS TO USE WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
  1. Make sure to have one or more copies of a “safe list” of people to call other than 911, including work number, supervisor’s home/cell phone number, pastor/counselor’s cell phone, family and/or friends’ numbers.
  2. Leave money and an extra set of keys with___________________ to be able to leave quickly and safely.
  3. Keep copies of important papers and documents and/or an extra set of keys at __________________________________.
  4. Increase my independence by opening a savings account, by a certain date: ______________________.
  5. Have people to stay with in case of an emergency. Ask them for other options of where to stay or to borrow money in an emergency.
  6. Leave extra clothes with __________________________.
  7. Sit down and review exit safety plan every day/month___________________ in order to plan the safest way to leave.
  8. Ask ___________________________________ (domestic violence advocate or friend) to help review this plan.
  9. Rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.
SAFETY TIPS FOR A NEW RESIDENCE
  1. Change locks on doors and windows, add locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, or an electronic security system.
  2. Replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.
  3. Purchase rope ladders to use from second floor windows.
  4. Install smoke detectors, purchase fire extinguishers for every floor in the residence.
  5. Install an outside lighting system.
  6. Teach children, friends, family members to call an emergency contact _________________________ (friend/minister/other) when/if the abusive partner takes away the children.
  7. Inform __________________________________, and _____________________________ (neighbors), _______________________ (pastor), and, ___________________________ (friend) that the abusive partner no longer lives at the residence and should call the police if he is seen near the residence.
  8. Specify in writing which people have permission to pick up children from school or daycare, and stress that the abusive partner is prohibited from doing so. People who have pick-up permission include:

__________________________________ (school),

___________________________________ (day care staff),

____________________________________ (babysitter),

___________________________ (Sunday School teacher),

____________________________________ (teacher),

____________________________________ (and),

______________________________________ (others).

SAFETY TIPS FOR AN ORDER OF PROTECTION
  1. Keep the protection order in a safe place ______________________________ (location) (Always keep it on you or near you.)
  2. Give a copy of the protective order to police departments in the communities where you usually visit family or friends in addition to the community where you live.
  3. Double check with your county registry that your protective order is registered. The telephone number for the county registry of protection order is ____________________.
  4. Call the local domestic violence program about any questions or problems with my protection order.
  5. Inform my employer, pastor, specific friends, relatives, and _____________________________________ and ___________________________ to let them know that you have a protection order in effect.
  6. If your partner destroys the protection order, you can get another copy from the county courthouse, or by contacting the Domestic Violence Unit of your county’s prosecuting Attorney _________________.
  7. If your partner violates the protective order, you must call the police and report the violation. If you have an attorney or legal aid, contact them.
  8. If you are unable to contact your attorney or advocate, and if the police are unable to help, file a complaint with local police department. You can also file a private criminal compliant with the Prosecuting Attorney in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred. You can request charges be filed against the batterer for violating the Protective Order and for any and all crimes committed while violating the order.
SAFETY TIPS WHEN AT WORK OR IN PUBLIC
  1. Inform my boss, the security supervisor and____________________ at work of my situation.
  2. Ask ________________ to help screen my telephone calls at work.
  3. When leaving work, I can ______________________________________.
  4. When driving home if problems occur, I can ________________________.
  5. If I use public transit, I can ______________________________________.
  6. Go to different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different than those when residing with my battered partner.
  7. Use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours different from those I used when residing with my battered partner.
SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

The process of building a new life takes an incredible amount of courage and energy to succeed. Consider ways to conserve both by:

  1. If you feel down and are thinking about returning to an abusive situation, instead, plan to _____________________________________________.
  2. When communicating with the abuser in person or by telephone, plan to _____________________________________________.
  3. Try to use “I can . . . ” statements and be assertive.
  4. I can tell myself, “_____________________________________________________” whenever I feel like others are trying to control or abuse me.
  5. I can read  ____________________________ to help me feel stronger.
  6. I can call ___________________, ___________________ and _________________ who are supportive of me.
  7. Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are ____________ ______________, and _______________________________.
  8. I can go to a workshop or support group through a local domestic violence program or _________________________________________________, or do _________________________ to strengthen my relationships with other people.
Domestic Violence Exit Safety Plan

EXIT PLAN

If you are in a domestic violence situation and you are thinking about leaving your abusive spouse or partner, it is very important that you have a safety plan in place first.

Because abusive relationships are based on power and control, the abuser will likely react in anger when you begin to regain control of your life.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Only share your safety plan with people who MUST know where you are. The more people that know, the higher the risk that your abuser will find out.
  2. http://apnee.ffessm.fr/?engineer-phd-resume Engineer Phd Resume Cover Your Tracks. Abusive people are already very good at monitoring cellphone and computer usage for any sign that you might be leaving. Try to use a public computer to search for information. Libraries can be a great help in this mission. If you are using your personal computer and phone, remember to delete the phone numbers from your phone, and clear your internet browser history.
  3. Call the  National Domestic Violence Hotline at anytime for advice:1-800-799-7233. The Hotline is completely confidential and anonymous. Asking for help is one of the first steps to freedom. It is critical for your safety that when you do call the hotline, your partner is not around. If your husband or partner does come in while you’re on the phone, hang up immediately. Make sure to have a relationship timeline ready in your mind when you call the hotline— to help explain your situation. How long has this been going on? Do you feel you are in danger? What are you afraid your husband or partner might do? Do you have children? Is there a recent altercation you can describe?
  4. Consider what you are able to do now to leave. What steps have you already taken to leave? Have you saved money? Do you have a to-go-bag packed? Have you opened a bank account or credit cards?
  5. Are you taking care of yourself? Self-care is important– and when under stress, victims often can neglect themselves. Some find writing in a journal helpful, making sure to eat throughout the day, having snacks, getting enough sleep, or taking a bath others also find helpful.
  6. You have options. Remember that when thinking about things to do to feel safe, there is always more than one right answer. And you are not alone.
Not Ready To Leave Yet?

If you aren’t ready for an exit plan but want to try and improve unhealthy patterns of behavior, here are a few alternatives.

  1. Identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship. What are patterns that can be seen as red flags? What are healthy alternatives?
  2. Come up with coping skills. What are ways you can calm down when you are angry and/or afraid? What are tools you can use to deescalate when you feel yourself getting angry?
  3. Recognize how your actions can negatively affect you and those around you.
  4. Consider going to a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program.
Your GO-BAG!

Be Prepared To Leave. Include In Your To-Go Bag:

  • Identification for yourself and children (birth certificates, social security cards),
  • School and vaccination records for children,
  • Cash and chargers for cell phone,
  • Spare keys to car, house, and office,
  • Medication and medical records,
  • Divorce papers/order of protection, if applicable,
  • Copies of lease/rental agreements, house deeds, mortgage payment records, bank records, insurance records,
  • Spare set of clothes, blankets, water.
Understanding The Cycle Of Abuse

THE CYCLE

“Coercive Control” abusers repeatedly implement a cycle of abuse that involves assault, degradation, isolation, manipulation, micromanagement, physical abuse, sexual coercion, stalking, threats of violence and punishment.

Violence is often cyclical:

domestic-violence

Photo Credit: Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP)

It often follows a three-part pattern:

1. Tension Building: Tension builds over how to manage money, parent children or employment. Verbal abuse begins. The victim responds by trying to control the situation through appeasement– pleasing the abuser, giving in, or avoidance. None of these actions prevent or end violence. Eventually, the tension reaches a boiling point and physical abuse begins.

2. Acute Battering: Physical violence is usually triggered by an external event or the abuser’s emotional state — not by the victim’s behavior. Assault and battery can be unpredictable and is always beyond the victim’s control. However, some experts believe that in some cases victims may unconsciously provoke the abuse to release the tension, and move on to the honeymoon phase.

3. The Honeymoon: First, the abuser expresses shame and remorse for his behavior. He tries to minimize the abuse and might even blame it on the partner. He may next express loving, kind behavior, followed by apologies, generosity and helpfulness. He will genuinely attempt to convince his partner that he will not become abusive again. His loving and contrite behavior strengthens the bond between them and often convinces the victim, once again, that she does not need to leave him.

This cycle continuously repeats itself and helps explain why victims stay in abusive relationships. The physical violence may be horrific, but the promises offered during the honeymoon phase create the false belief that everything will be fine once again.

Did You Know?

Nearly 33% of women murdered in the U.S. workplaces were killed by a current or former intimate partner

Between 2001-2012, the number of women murdered by current and former male partners (11,766) was nearly double the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (6488)

Domestic Violence is the third leading cause of homelessness in America

Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to experience inmate partner violence - and severe violence than non-disabled women

Men who are exposed to domestic violence as children are 3-4 times more likely to become abusers than men who did not experience domestic abuse as children

Intimate Partner Violence is the leading cause of female homicide and injury related deaths during pregnancy

Every 9 seconds one woman in America is assaulted or beaten

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