Get up. Get out. Get Away.
Call the 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline in the Little Rock area, (501) 376-3219 or toll-free (800) 332-4443.
What is Domestic Violence?
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. Behaviors include:
- Put downs
- Use of profanity
- Unfounded accusations
- Cruel and hurtful remarks
- Degrading the victim in public
- Diminishing accomplishments
- Flying into rages
- Controlling finances or employment
- Lack of trust/Suspicion
- Following or stalking the victim
- Threats of suicide
- Threats of taking away children
- Threats of physical violence
- Threats of murder
- Minimizes or denies behavior, explosive or critical reactions
- Holding the victim down against their will
- Throwing or breaking objects
- Using a weapon
- Forcing unwanted sexual acts
- Use of weapons during sex
- Forced sex involving multiple partners
- Inflicts pain during sex
Power and Control Wheel
The chart below is a way of looking at the behaviors abusers use to get and keep control in their relationships. Battering is a choice. It is used to gain power and control over another person. Physical abuse is only one part of a system of abusive behaviors.
Abuse is never a one-time event.
This chart uses the wheel to show the relationship of physical abuse to other forms of abuse. Each part shows a way to control or gain power.
ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.If you are being abused, REMEMBER
- You are not alone.
- It is not your fault.
- Help is available.
The Cycle of Domestic Violence
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.
Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Abuse may begin
- There is a breakdown of communication
- Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels like they are 'walking on egg shells'
- Any type of abuse occurs (physical/verbal/sexual/emotional)
- Abuser may apologize for abuse
- Abuser may promise it will never happen again
- Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
- Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
- Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
- Physical abuse may not be taking place
- Promises made during 'making-up' may be met
- Victim may hope that the abuse is over
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
Personalized Safety Plan
Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe. The resources in this book can help you to make a safety plan that works best for you. It is important to get help with your safety plan.
WCF 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.
If you are in an abusive relationship, think about ...
- 1. Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have are the police, hotlines, friends and the local shelter.
- 2. Friends or neighbors you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.
- 3. How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
- 4. Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen try to get your abuser to one of these safer places.
- 5. Any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.
- 6. Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use everyday (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- 7. Going over your safety plan often.
If you consider leaving your abuser, think about ...
- 1. Four places you could go if you leave your home.
- 2. People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
- 3. Get a cell phone.
- 4. Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name.
- 5. How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- 6. How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
- 7. Putting together a bag of things you use everyday. Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
ITEMS TO TAKE, IF POSSIBLE
- Children (if it is safe)
- Keys to car, house, work
- Extra clothes
- Important papers for you and your children
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- School and medical records
- Bankbooks, credit cards
- Driver's license
- Car registration
- Welfare identification
- Passports, green cards, work permits
- Lease/rental agreement
- Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
- Insurance papers
- PPO, divorce papers, custody orders
- Address book
- Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
- Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)
Think about reviewing your safety plan often.
If you have left your abuser, think about...
- 1. Your safety - you still need to.
- 2. Getting a cell phone. WCF 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.
- 3. Getting a PPO from the court. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who take care of your children, their schools and your boss.
- 4. Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights.
- 5. Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- 6. Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have a PPO protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
- 7. Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a PPO that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- 8. Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- 9. Someone that you can call if you feel down. Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop.
- 10. Safe way to speak with your abuser if you must.
- 11. Going over your safety plan often.
WARNING: Abusers try to control their victim's lives. When abusers feel a loss of control - like when victims try to leave them - the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.
This section on personalized safety planning adapted from the Metro Nashville Police Department's personalized safety plan.