You may be oblivious to indicators of abuse. Knowledge is power when it helps save lives. Spot abuse early and avoid tragedy.
Domestic violence can be emotional, physical, financial, or sexual. If you are not comfortable in your relationship, step back and look at why.
Abuse can take many forms and may not seem abusive at first, as is sometimes the case with emotional abuse. Still, if a pattern of repeated behaviors makes you uncomfortable, you may be in an abusive relationship. Women are the most usually abused.
Signs of Abuse
Abusive behaviors include the following:
- Withholding money so you cannot purchase necessities;
- Isolating you from family and friends;
- Any behavior that is used to control or manipulate you;
- Sexual abuse;
- The attitude that a woman is to be barefoot and pregnant take care of husband and house, etc…or other strong attitudes about what a woman should do or not do;
- Jealous of any other relationship, family, or friends.
Help can be found at your local YMCA or the Department of Human Services. Ask for help! Even if you are a strong woman, there are ways that you can be helped that you don’t even know you need. It is reassuring not to be alone; you can get out of the situation; you do not need to stay. Call 911 if it is an emergency!! Tell them you are in danger; they cannot help you if you do not speak up. So many women are mistreated for years before receiving treatment.
Ways to Get Help
When a person is in a domestically violent situation, no matter what type of violence, the victim needs to get out; a plan of action must be in place to get out safely. One of the first steps to do is to establish a line of communication with someone outside of family and friends; if possible, if not, contact the local police department and ask for help. WomensHealth.gov is an excellent place to develop your plan and understand how to get out of the situation.
Understand Your Abuser
The plan to escape should also include understanding your abuser. Understand what they may do if they are angered, plan how to handle the anger, and run it. If the threat of physical violence is high, make yourself a tiny target by curling in a ball and tucking yourself into a corner with your head covered.
If your abuser prefers poisoning methods, do not eat or drink anything they may offer. If your abuser likes to set up traps, be extra diligent in watching for signs of traps.
Pack a bag with essential belongings and store it in a location where it’s easy to grab in a hurry. If you can drive, keep it in your trunk; if you cannot move, hide the bag somewhere prominent, so your abuser will not realize it. Having the bag evident will blend in, such as with the children’s laundry in their closets. If you cannot hide it in a prominent place, try to conceal an escape bag outside or in a closet by the door.
Do not wear anything that can be used as a weapon, such as scarves, long necklaces, or loose clothing.
Find excuses to leave and then return, as returning builds trust with the abuser. The abuser will trust you to come back to use this to escape. Try calling the domestic abuse hotline when you are out on one of these trips.
All this action may make you feel paranoid, but if it keeps you and anyone you are trying to protect alive, feeling paranoid is worth it for a time. Practice, practice, practice! If you practice your escape plan, you will be more prepared if your abuser tries to stop you. Be ready for anything, try to plan for the worst, and be prepared for it.