Are You Abused?
Does the person you love:
- "track" all of your time?
- constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
- discourage your relationships with family and friends?
- prevent you from working or attending school?
- criticize you for little things?
- become angry when drinking or on drugs?
- control all finances and force you to account in detail for what you spend?
- humiliate you in front of others?
- destroy personal property or sentimental items?
- hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or your children?
- use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
- threaten to hurt you or your children?
- force you to have sex against your will?
If you find yourself saying yes, it is time to get help!
What Can You Do?
There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect yourself:
- Call the police. Assault, even by family members, is a crime. The police often have information about shelters and other agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
- Leave, or have someone come and stay with you. Go to a domestic abuse shelter - call a crisis hotline, most are listed in the phone book. If you believe that you and your children are in danger, leave immediately.
- Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.
- Contact your family court for information about a protection order.
Do NOT ignore the problem.
- Talk to someone. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems. Go to a friend or neighbor or call a domestic violence hotline to talk to a counselor.
- Plan ahead and know what you will do if you are attacked again. If you decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money. Put important papers together - marriage license, birth certificates, check books, etc. in a place where you can get them quickly.
- Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and set goals for yourself.
Have you hurt someone in your family?
- Accept the fact that your violent behavior will destroy your family. Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt someone.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Get help.
- When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry energy through a walk, a project, a sport, etc.
- Call a domestic violence hotline or heal center and ask about counseling and support groups for people who batter.