It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month!!
I know a LOT about domestic violence (DV). Not b/c I have experienced it, but b/c I have worked with survivors for so long.
DV is defined as one person exerting their power over another person in order to control them. It can be done in many ways such as physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, sexually, verbally, and psychologically.
It is mostly women (95%) who are overpowered and controlled by men, but don’t think that some women (5%) don’t exert their power over men b/c they do. Men barely report these incidents due to how it makes them look and the hit on their ego, but it happens.
What does DV look like? I’m glad you asked. It can be one or more actions below:
- Calling names
- Cutting up clothes/photos
- Playing mind games
- Isolation from family/friends
- The silent treatment
- Checking phones/social media
- Constant phone calls/texts
- Controls what she wears
- Using the children as pawns
- Threatening phones calls
- Gas lighting
- Harming pets
- Using male privilege
These actions become more intense if the abuser has access to weapons, alcohol, or drugs. The frequency by which these actions occur can ebb and flow or become daily or sporadically.
There are 3 phases: The honeymoon phase where everything is perfect, happy, and fun. Sometimes, there are gifts given by the abuser. The eggshell phase where you know the explosion is coming, but you don’t know when. Then, the explosion phase where the abuse begins. Then, it starts all over with an apology or crying and the promises that it will never happen again.
What’s the point of this post? Well… I will tell you. I just want to promote awareness, education, knowledge. Somebody out there doesn’t know that what they are experiencing is abusive.
Abuse isn’t always seen, but it is always felt. The impact on those who watch and experience it are affected long after the abuse.
Think of the Kids:
1 in 4 children are more likely to have to witnessed DV in the home. There is a common link between DV and child abuse. Teen dating violence is a thing… a BIG thing, especially in high school and college. Facts taken from here, please read more.
Resources: There is help.
National Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Visit the National Website here.
Remember: There are shelters in your area that can be very helpful. Please call the police if you fear for your life or the lives of your children at any point. Document everything that happens, if possible. If they do it once, they will do it again.
Safety Plan: The smartest thing you can do for yourself and your children is to have a plan in place, in case you need one.
- Be proactive!
- Pack a bag and leave it in your trunk or at a friend’s house.
- Take your important documents (SS card, birth certificate, license, etc.) with you or place the originals in a safe place with easy access outside of the home, if possible.
- Throw out a safe word (banana, tropical, shellfish, green) that will alert family and friends that you need help fast and call the police.
- Remain calm and breathe, so you don’t scare the children and you can think clearly.
- Vary your routine sometimes. Take one way home and a different way to work.
- If you have to meet your abuser, pick a public location.
- Avoid staying home alone.
- Keep ALL texts and voicemails sent by the abuser for the courts, lawyers, and the police.
- You are not alone. You are brave. You will make it. It is worth it.
**The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you try to leave.**
Please share with everyone you know. You just might help someone.
Breathe. Be aware. Be proactive. Be safe.