Domestic Violence

The Hidden Crime

As many as four million women in this country suffer some kind of domestic violence at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends each year. Very few will tell anyone…a friend, a neighbor, or the police. Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all income groups, all ages, and all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame.

Are You Abused?

Does the person you love…

  • “Track” all of your time?
  • Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
  • Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Criticize you for little things?
  • Anger easily when using alcohol or 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 your children?
  • Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
  • Threaten to hurt you or your children?
  • Force you to have sex against your will?

If you find yourself saying yes to any of these — it’s time to get help!

Don’t Ignore the Problem

  • Talk to someone. Part of the abuser’s power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic violence hotline to talk to a counselor.
  • Plan ahead and know what to do if you are attacked again. If you decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money. Put important papers together — marriage license, birth certificates, checkbooks — in a place where you can get them quickly.
  • Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and set goals for yourself.

If You Are Hurt, What Can You Do?

There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect yourself…

  • Call the Police. Assault, even if by family members, is a crime. The police often have information about shelters and other agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
  • Leave! Or have someone come and stay with you. Go to a battered women’s shelter — call a crisis hotline in your community or a health center to locate a shelter. If you believe that you, or your children, are in danger — leave immediately!
  • Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.
  • Contact your family court for information about a civil restraining order that does not involve criminal charges or penalties.

Nationwide Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)