October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
I want to introduce myself before we get into this topic. My name is Theresa Hissong and I am an Erotic and Paranormal Romance Author. In my books, I speak out against domestic violence. I am not a trained professional and the blog post you are about to read is only done for awareness. Everything that you read below is from my own research through various online websites. My main goal here is to teach you about abuse and how to get help.
Because Domestic Violence is something that I feel strongly about, I wanted to take this month to reach out in hopes that I can help at least one person who is affected by domestic violence.
Abuse is not your fault and I hope that someday we can wipe the words ‘abuse’ and ‘violence’ out of our vocabulary.
If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence, please get help, because no one should suffer at the hands of a monster.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is abuse by someone you know. It could be a spouse, a parent, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, a current boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a friend you’ve known your entire life.
Domestic Violence can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, black or white, young or old. It also doesn’t matter what religion you are. If you are gay or straight. There are no borders when it comes to abuse. Anyone can suffer.
But the most affected are women. It is said that 1 in 4 women will suffer some type of domestic violence in their lifetime.
What are the different types of abuse?
Physical Abuse is one of the categories that we associate most with domestic violence. Physical abuse means: hitting, shoving, grabbing, slapping, punching, pinching, biting, and hair pulling are a few examples of physical abuse.
Sexual Abuse is another common category most known when speaking of domestic violence. Sexual abuse is defined as coercing or attempting to coerce any type of sexual contact without consent. This can include: forcing sex on an unwilling partner, marital rape, or treating someone as if you plan on attempting to force sex upon the unwilling partner.
Emotional Abuse is the third most common category associated with domestic abuse. Any undermining words to an individual’s self-esteem is considered abuse. This could include harsh criticism, name calling, or purposely saying words to make someone feel unworthy.
Psychological Abuse is when the abuser plants fear into the person by intimidation. They can also threaten harm to themselves, a partner, children, or the partner’s family and friends to make you do as the abuser wants you too. Abusers have been known to hurt or threaten to harm animals and property. Psychological abusers also will force isolation from your family, friends, school or work.
Economic Abuse can be defined by the abuser making the partner financially dependent on them. They take total control over your finances by withholding access to money, or forbidding you to go to work.
Here are some scenarios in which domestic violence is an issue: (these are examples only)
- The abuser makes you give them your paycheck every payday and will only give you a portion of money to spend on groceries. You are not allowed to use your money without the abusers permission.
- The abuser gets angry and slaps you across the face when you catch them in a lie. Or they are wrong in an argument.
- The abuser threatens to kill your cat if you tell anyone that black eye was a result of the abuser hitting you.
- The abuser holds you down forcefully while attempting to have sex with you after you said “NO”.
- The abuser commonly tells you that you are an “idiot” when you accidently drop a glass and it shatters in the floor.
- The abuser threatens to commit suicide to get you to do something the abuser wants.
- The abuser holds a knife to you and threatens to kill you when they are angry.
- The abuser says things that make you feel bad about yourself, or calls you names that hurts your feelings.
- The abuser will not let you see your friends. The ‘Girl’s Night Out’ is no longer allowed.
- The abuser drives by your place of work, or the place you have gathered with your friends. The abuser will sit in the parking lot and watch you eat dinner with your family members to make sure you are where you told them you would be.
- They accuse you of having an affair just to cover up the fact that they are sleeping with another person.
Here is a chart from domesticviolence.org showing a look at behaviors used to gain control in their relationships. An abuser is looking for ‘power and control’. This wheel is a good way to see the different kinds of abuse listed above.
What can you do to be safe?
First of all, you have to tell yourself that abuse is not your fault! Secondly, you have to believe it. Do not let your abuser change that in your head. If you have to hold on to one thing…Stay true to yourself and know that it can stop. There are many things you can do:
- Call the Police. *This is your direct line for help. They are your first step in getting help. If you are being threatened, have been physically harmed, or fear for your safety or your children’s safety then please call 911.
- Find somewhere safe. It doesn’t matter if the home is yours. Get away from the home and find somewhere safe for the time being. You can always have the police remove the abuser from the home at a later time. Remember: Your safety comes first.
- Rely on family and friends. No one will turn you away if you are running from an abuser. Someone, somewhere, will help you. Do NOT be afraid to ask for help.
- Get medical help. If you have been harmed, please go to the nearest emergency room. Just because you look okay on the outside, doesn’t mean you are okay on the inside. Abusers can hurt internal organs when you are physically abused. If you have been sexually abused, you must reach a hospital immediately. A test can be done to collect the abusers DNA. The test can prove the abuser is guilty in a court of law.
- Get a restraining order. The police can help you obtain this order. The abuser will be notified they are not to be in contact with you, or they will go to jail. This is a great legal way to keep the abuser from getting to you.
Please do not feel that you are alone. There are plenty of places that will get you the help you need. Rely on family and friends to get you the help you need. The police department is your friend. They will help you to obtain the legal documents you need to stop the abuser. Do the right thing and listen to what they tell you. Please, please, please remember that an apology is just a way to get you back under the abusers control. Those ‘accidents’ will continue. An abuser will use the word ‘love’ to change your mind. If someone truly loves you, they will not ever want harm done to you. Here are some phone numbers you can call that you can get help. Please use these numbers if you feel that you are being abused.
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Helpline 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline 1-866-331-9474
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673