Get up. Get out. Get Away.
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:
- 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 & Control Wheel
This chart 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, gender identity, economic background, 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.
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 physical 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 every day (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
7. Going over your safety plan often. Talk with your children regarding the Safety Plan in place.
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 every day. 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.)
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 OOP 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 OOP 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 OOP 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.