WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic violence is often seen as a pattern of behaviors aimed towards a victim in order to cause fear, intimidation, submission, and/or dependency. Four of the most common forms of abuse include:
Physical Violence - The aggressor purposely hits, slaps, grabs, punches, strangles, restrains or uses any type of physical force to cause injury to the victim. This may also include throwing items, using a weapon, spitting, etc. May or may not leave bruising.
Emotional Abuse - The aggressor will use words or acts to cause emotional pain or numbing to the victim. Put downs, name calling, public humiliation, destruction of items important or sentimental to the victim, threats of suicide, threats or acts of hurting children or pets, threats to report the victim to an a agency and many more.
Sexual Abuse/Violence - Forced or coerced sexual acts, sexual acts used to cause pain or humiliation to the victim, exposing a victim to a sexually transmitted disease, prostituting a victim, posting nude photos of the victim or victims' children on any media, withholding intimacy as a punishment, extra-marital affairs, a physical attack on the victims's sexual parts of the body, treating the victim like a sex object.
Financial Abuse - The aggressor will keep the victim financially dependent which makes it difficult for the victim to leave. Victim has no access to banking, financial resources or cash. Credit may be ruined due to charges made with the victim's credit without them knowing. May obtain loans in the victim's name. Victim must be forced to produce receipts and may not be allowed to work. Spending may be heavily monitored and allowances given, making the victim beg for necessities. May force the victim to hand over their paycheck, or force the victim to be the sole provider but deny them access to their own money. Aggressor may spend money set aside for rent, utilities, etc., on drugs, alcohol, gambling or their own personal wants.
WARNING SIGNS OF AN ABUSER:
Unpredictable mood swings
Isolates you from friends and family
Uses force during an argument
Believes in rigid gender roles
Blames others for his problems or feelings
Cruel to animals or children
Verbally abusive or threatens violence
Abused former partners
IF YOU’RE READY TO LEAVE
Statistically, the most dangerous time for the abused person is when they are fleeing the violent situation. If at all possible, try and prepare by taking the steps listed below.
Contact your local crisis center to speak to an advocate. Serenity's 24-hour hotline is (870)424-SAFE (7233).
Develop a safety plan.
HOW TO DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN
Put away an emergency fund of cash.
Obtain copies of documents such as passports, driver’s license, birth certificates for yourself and child(ren) if applicable, immunization records, and any other important documents.
Pack a suitcase with basic clothing and hygiene needs for yourself and child(ren) that is easily accessible in an emergency.
Develop a code word for your family and friends to let them know you may be in danger.
Educate yourself about the legal system. (i.e. protective orders, legal remedies for immigrants, etc.)