Types of Abuse
kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, and any other acts which hurt your body
Calling you vulgar names, criticizing your body parts or sensuality, forced or pressured sexual acts, including rape
Assaults against self-esteem
Name-calling, threats, put-downs
Causing you to feel as if you are “going crazy”
Stalking is repetitive harassment, often including the following of another person with the intention of causing anxiety or fear. Stalking can include: following someone, written or verbal threats, repeated and unwanted phone calls/emails/texts/instance messages, vandalizing personal property, and sending threatening or harassing letters.
Attacking your spiritual or religious beliefs
Controlling and manipulating you by threatening your economic status and basic needs
Threatening to “out” you to people who do not know your sexual orientation
Using your immigration status and fear of deportation to control you
Actual or threatened assault of your property or pets to scare you
Characteristics of an Abuser
- By leaving, victims may lose economic security and face poverty and homelessness.
- Their family, friends, or church group may admonish and even disown them for their decision to leave.
- Their children may be taken from them.
- Abusive partners may promise to go to counseling, change their ways, and never hurt their partners again
- Victims may face greater injury and even death at the hands of their partner when they try to leave.
- You fear you will be beaten more severely. Your batterer has threatened to find and kill or harm you, your children, and your family.
- You depend on the batterer for shelter, food, and other necessities.
- You have no one to talk to who understands and believes you.
- You believe your children need two parents, and you don’t want to raise them alone.
- You want to keep the family together and live up to your religious commitment to remain with your partner.
- When an attack has begun, escape if you can. Whenever you believe that you are in danger, leave your home and take your children, no matter the time of day or night. Go to a friend or relative’s house or a domestic violence shelter.
- Defend and protect yourself. Later, take photos of your injuries.
- Call for help. Scream loudly and continuously. You have nothing to be ashamed of – the batterer does.
- During an argument, stay close to an exit and avoid the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Practice getting out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevators, or stairwells would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready. Keep it in a secret but accessible place so you can leave quickly.
- Identify neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Plan where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you will.
- Trust your own instincts and judgment. Whatever you need to do to survive is the right choice. You have the right to protect yourself.
- Keep a copy of your Order of Protection on you at all times.
- Call police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Keep a diary detailing any contact, threats, messages, or letters. Save phone message tapes.
- Think of alternative ways to stay safe if the police do not respond right away.
- Give copies of your Order of Protection to everyone listed on the order along with family, friends, and neighbors who are willing to help you.
- Open a savings account in your own name to establish your independence. Give the bank a safe address, such as a post office box or a work address. Think of other ways to increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Decide who you could stay with and who might loan you some money.
- Keep the shelter’s phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergencies.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. Leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time.
- If you must leave your children, recover them as soon as possible. Courts tend to give custody to a parent who physically has the children. Seek legal advice or call a domestic violence agency if there are no current child custody orders.
Identification, driver’s license, car registration
Court orders, restraining orders
Birth certificates for you and your children
Police reports / documentation of previous abuse
Bank books and / or bank account numbers
Checkbooks, credit cards, ATM card
Lease / rental agreement, house deed
Medical, life, and auto insurance papers
House and car keys, pink slip
Small saleable objects
Medical records for all family members
Social Security card
School and immunization records
Work permits / identification
Passport or “Green Card”
Divorce papers / marriage license
Children’s clothing and small toys
Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
REMEMBER: These things are not as important as the lives of you and your children!
- Warn children to stay out of the adults’ conflicts
- Make a list of people the children can trust and talk to when they are feeling unsafe (neighbors, teachers, relatives, friends)
- Decide ahead of time on a safe place the children can go when they feel unsafe
- Teach children how to use police and other emergency phone numbers
How many of the statements below fit your life?
If more than 7 of them fit your life, you may be a victim of domestic violence. If more than 15 of the statements fit your life, you almost certainly are a victim of domestic violence. Remember, battering isn’t just about bruises. Battering includes a range of behaviors, from controlling your life to murdering you.
- Makes light of the abuse and doesn’t take my concerns about it seriously
- Says the abuse didn’t happen
- Shifts responsibility for abusive behavior
- Says I caused it
- Prevents me from getting or keeping a job
- Makes me ask for money
- Gives me an allowance
- Takes my money
- Doesn’t let me know about or have access to family income
- Puts me down
- Makes me feel bad about myself
- Call me names
- Makes me think I’m crazy
- Plays mind games
- Humiliates me
- Makes me feel guilty
- Treats me like a servant
- Makes all the big decisions
- Acts like the “Master of the castle”
- Is the one to define men’s and women’s roles
- Makes or carries out threats to do something to hurt me
- Threatens to leave me, to commit suicide, to report me to welfare
- Makes me drop charges
- Makes me do illegal things
- Hits me
- Slaps me
- Kicks me
- Pushes me
- Throws things at me
- Physically restrains me
- Pulls my hair
- Cuts me
- Otherwise hurts me
- Makes me have sex when I don’t want to
- Makes me do things sexually that I don’t like
- Is sexual with me in public in ways that make me uncomfortable
- Touches me sexually when I don’t want this
- Threatens to do something to hurt me or someone (something) else if I don’t cooperate sexually
- Makes me afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions
- Smashes things
- Abuses Pets
- Displays Weapons
- Makes me feel guilty about the children
- Uses the children to relay messages
- Uses visitation to harass me
- Threatens to take the children away
- Controls what I do, who I see and talk to, what I read, & where I go
- Limits my outside involvement
- Uses jealousy to justify actions