As many as four million women in this country suffer some kind of violence at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends each year. A women in the U.S. is physically assaulted by a partner an average of once every twelve seconds. Very few will tell anyone-- a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or the police. Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame.
How do you know if you are abused? Ask yourself the following questions. Does the person you love.....
- "Track" all your time?
- Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
- Discourage your relationships with family or friends?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Criticize you for little things?
- Anger easily when drinking or using other 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 the children?
- Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
- Threaten to hurt you or the children?
- Force you to have sex against your will?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, Its time to get help.
What do I do If I am being abused?
First, dont ignore the problem. Talk to someone. Part of the abusers power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to expose intimate family problems. However, the first step toward solving the problem is admitting to yourself and others that there is a problem. Talk to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic violence hotline to talk to a counselor:
Laura Head, Victim Advocate, Domestic Violence Unit, 706-272-2911
Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238
Plan ahead and know what you will do if you are attacked again. Tell your neighbor to call the police if they hear any disturbances. Even if you decide to stay, you should be prepared to leave on a moments notice. Set aside some money and clothes in a secret and safe place. Put important papers together (marriage license, birth certificates, checkbook)
in a place where you can get them quickly. If you are attacked again and you decide to leave, you should be prepared to get out fast. However, If your being abused, dont wait for another attack. Get out now. Especially if there are children involved.
What can I do to stop abusing my loved ones?
- 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 and get help.
- When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry walk, a project, a energy through a sport.
- Call a domestic violence hotline or health center and ask about counseling and support groups for people who batter.
Domestic violence is passed down from generation to generation. The only way to stop this inheritance of destruction is to get help now. The steps you take now could bring about a positive change in your familys future for generations to come.