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Domestic Violence Info.
Domestic violence is a pattern of increasingly abusive and manipulative behavior whereby one person attempts to exercise power and control over the other person in the relationship. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.
Understanding the definition of domestic violence is crucial in being able to act against it. Sometimes people may not even realize that they are being abusive toward their partner. On the other hand, victims do not know to take action against their abusers if they do not realize that they are in fact a victim of domestic violence. Additionally, friends and loved ones of victims can be better equipped to help if they understand what domestic violence looks like. Therefore, it is important that people understand the definition of domestic violence, are able to define the different types of abuse, and recognize the many forms it can take.
Definitions of Abuse
Physical Abuse: any intentional and unwanted contact with you or near your body. The violence may consist of a slap, kick, punch, scratch, strangulation, choking, pulling of hair, grabbing of clothing, threatening with weapons, or worse.
Emotional Abuse: may involve isolating the victim from his/her resources and sources of encouragement. The victim may be physically isolated by being locked in his/her home without a telephone, or source of transportation. The abuser may refuse to show any type of love or affection thereby, gaining more power in the relationship. The victim may not be able to perform at work or at home to the great amount of stress he/she experienced as a result of the fear and anxiety he/she feels.
Sexual Abuse: any non-consensual contact that can happen to both men and women of any age. Derogatory name-calling, refusal to use contraception, forced sex, deliberately causing unwanted physical pain during sex, and passing on sexual diseases or infections using toys, objects, or other items are all forms of sexual abuse.
Verbal Abuse: use of words to attack an individual, such as name-calling and blaming. It causes one to believe an untrue statement, or to speak falsely of an individual. It constitutes psychological violence. Some classic verbally abusive statements are; “You’re crazy!” “You’re stupid!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Verbal abuse is damaging to the spirit and can lower a victim’s self-esteem.
Psychological/Mental Abuse: any abusive behavior that uses emotions to intimidate the victim, such as threatening the victim or stalking the victim.
Stalking: a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Someone can also use technology to stalk an individual, this is known as cyberstalking.
Domestic violence isn’t simple. It’s a manipulative process the abuser uses to keep the victim in the relationship while maintaining power and control. It is the false portrayal of intense love to get what they want, which is ultimately control over another individual.
The power and control wheel demonstrates how an abusive relationship can look, and some of the things an abusive person does or says to get what they want.
Common Warning Signs of Abuse
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does whatever it takes to gain power and control over their partner.
While there is no stereotype as to what an abuser may look like on the outside, there are a few common traits that you can look out for. Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
Tells you that you can never do anything right
Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
Controls every penny spent in the household
Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
Prevents you from making your own decisions
Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
Prevents you from working or attending school
Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
To learn more about warning signs of domestic violence and the different types of abuse, click here.
If you’re in immediate danger, or need immediate medical assistance, call 911.
Personalized Safety Plan
A safety plan is a written or mental plan to keep yourself safe during an incident when domestic violence is present in the relationship, or after you’ve left the relationship, but a threat of violence still remains.
Safety Plans consist of places you can go to be safe, people you can safely tell about the situation, things to take when you leave, how to get help and stay safe, and much more. An example of a safety plan can be found here. If you need help coming up with your own Safety Plan, First Step advocates will be able to assist you.
Items to consider taking:
Identification: Tribal registration cards, driver’s license, car registration, car title, children’s birth certificates, your birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, welfare identification, etc. These are among the most difficult to replace, and we therefore recommend they be a high priority in a safety plan.
Financial: Money, bank books, check books, etc.
Legal Papers: Your protective order, lease/rental agreement/house deed, car registration/insurance papers, custody papers, divorce papers, health and life insurance papers, family medical records, work permits, green card and immigration papers, passport, etc. Legal papers are also difficult to replace, and we highly encourage these to be a high priority when safety planning.
Other: House and car keys, medications, school records, shot records for children, address book, photos of you, your children, the abuser, children’s toys, telephone card, jewelry and a change of clothes for you and your children.
Remember: sometimes we must leave in a hurry and cannot get this entire list. It is alright. Get as much as possible, but remember, safety first.
If you’re a survivor of domestic violence, free, confidential counseling is available through First Step, Inc. We also work closely with some community entities to ensure survivors receive consistent services wherever they feel comfortable. Other programs are listed below:
– If you’re part of the Air Force Community, you can contact the Family Advocacy Program at Sheppard Air Force Base.
– If you’re a student at:
– Midwestern State University: You can contact the Counseling Center.
– Vernon College: You can contact the Vernon College Counseling Department.
If you’re a survivor, please know you’re not alone. 1 in 3 Texans have or will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. If you would like to explore healing through support group meetings, please contact our outreach office at 940-723-7799.
Resources for Friends, Relatives, Co-workers, and Bystanders
The first step to helping survivors is understanding the dynamics of domestic violence. Understanding why survivors stay is crucial to helping them get safe and appropriate help. To help you better understand why your friend or loved one stays, click here.
To help you know what steps to take if you suspect your loved one is in a violent relationship, click here, or follow the guide below: