WHAT IS ABUSE ???

It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.


In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

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 many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call or chat online with an advocate to talk about what’s going on.


  • Telling you that you can never do anything right

  • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away

  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members

  • Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs

  • Controlling every penny spent in the household

  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses

  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you

  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do

  • Preventing you from making your own decisions

  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children

  • Preventing you from working or attending school

  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets

  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons

  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with

  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol


Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. 

It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating.  Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.


PHYSICAL


You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you

  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping

  • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)

  • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you, or actually hurting you with weapons

  • Trapping you in your home or keeps you from leaving

  • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention

  • Harming your children

  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places

  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them

  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)



EMOTIONAL


You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if you partner exerts control through: 


  • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you

  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive

  • Trying to isolate you from family or friends

  • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with

  • Demanding to know where you are every minute

  • Punishing you by withholding affection

  • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets

  • Humiliating you in any way

  • Blaming you for the abuse

  • Accusing you of cheating and being often jealous of your outside relationships

  • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior

  • Cheating on you intentionally to hurt you and then threatening to cheat again

  • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are

  • Attempting to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.

  • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them



SEXUAL ABUSE AND COERCION


Sexually abusive methods of retaining power and control include an abusive partner:


  • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way

  • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names

  • Forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts

  • Holding you down during sex

  • Demanding sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you

  • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex

  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will

  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex

  • Forcing you to watch pornography

  • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you


Sexual coercion


Sexual coercion lies on the ‘continuum’ of sexually aggressive behavior.  It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions. For example, an abusive partner:

  • Making you feel like you owe them — ex. Because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift

  • Giving you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions

  • Playing on the fact that you’re in a relationship, saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love for me,” “If I don’t get sex from you I’ll get it somewhere else”

  • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don’t immediately agree to something

  • Continuing to pressure you after you say no

  • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no

  • Trying to normalize their sexual expectations: ex. “I need it, I’m a man”


Even if your partner isn’t forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, being made to feel obligated is coercion in itself. Dating someone, being in a relationship, or being married never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.


FINANCIAL


Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms, including an abusive partner:


  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases

  • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it

  • Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts

  • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work

  • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score

  • Stealing money from you or your family and friends

  • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission

  • Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household

  • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns

  • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine



DIGITAL


Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:


  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.

  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.

  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.

  • Puts you down in their status updates.

  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.

  • Pressures you to send explicit video.

  • Steals or insists to be given your passwords.

  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.

  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.

  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.


You never deserve to be mistreated, online or off. Remember:

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  • Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.

  • It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.

  • You do not have to text any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos, known as “sexting.”

  • You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything you fear could be seen by others.

  • You do not have to share your passwords with anyone.

  • Know your privacy settings. Social networks such as Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. These are often customizable and are found in the privacy section of the site. Remember, registering for some applications (apps) require you to change your privacy settings.

  • Be mindful when using check-ins like Facebook Places and foursquare. Letting an abusive partner know where you are could be dangerous. Also, always ask your friends if it’s ok for you to check them in. You never know if they are trying to keep their location secret.

  • You have the right to feel comfortable and safe in your relationship, even online.



WHAT IS A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP ???


What exactly do we mean by healthy relationships? Who in the relationship decides what is healthy and what is not?

Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent.  Communication and Boundaries are the two major components of a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not.  If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.


COMMUNICATION

Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other, and allows you to connect. In a healthy relationship with good communication, both partners:

  • Treat each other with respect

  • Speak openly to one another about thoughts and feelings

  • Feel heard when expressing feelings

  • Listen to each other and compromise

  • Do not criticize each other

  • Feel supported to do the things they like

  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes



BOUNDARIES


Each person should express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, when it comes to sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time. In a healthy relationship with boundaries, both partners:


  • Allow each other to spend time with friends and family

  • Do not abuse technology to check on a partner

  • Trust each other and not require their partner to “check in”

  • Do not pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do

  • Do not constantly accuse the other of cheating or being unfaithful


Can an abusive partner really change?

 While people do have the capacity to change, they need to deeply want to and be committed to all aspects of change in order to begin to do so — and even then, it’s a lot easier said than done. In discussing why abusers abuse, it’s clear that a lot of the causal factors behind these behaviors are learned attitudes and feelings of entitlement and privilege, which can be extremely difficult to truly change. Because of this, there’s a very low percentage of abusers who truly do change their ways. One part of changing may involve an abusive partner willingly attending a certified batterer intervention program that focuses on behavior, reflection and accountability. At the Hotline we don’t recommend couples counseling, anger management, substance abuse programs or mental health treatments for abusers to learn about and deal with their abusive patterns (although oftentimes these can helpfully supplement a batterer intervention program).



Thank you to the National Domestic Violence Website, and the Texas Attorney General website for a lot of this information on this page

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We are not only about helping Domestic Violence Victims, but we also help ANYONE in need.   We have been helping victims and survivors since 2011.   We help victims with resources such as education, finding a place to relocate, helping you relocate, where to find resources in YOUR city or County (If available).  We hand out "Blessing Bags" (When we have the funding) which consist of Toiletries, Food Gift Cards, Grocery Store gift cards, clothing, shoes, and various other necessities.  Your donation can go to help MANY PEOPLE IN VARIOUS SITUATIONS, that NEED YOUR HELP!  It is ALL 100% Tax Deductible!   We also help educate the public as well as some government agencies such as the police department and Fire Department and Ambulance Services, to be able to more fully recognize the different types of abuse.

  


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24 / 7 CRISIS HOTLINE HELP

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
  • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.



RAPE


  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.
  • Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.



STALKING

  • 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.1 60.8% of female stalking victims and 43.5% men reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

HOMICIDE

  • A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.
  • 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.



CHILDREN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.



ECONOMIC IMPACT

  • Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year.
  • Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.
  • Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, 78% of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.4



PHYSICAL/MENTAL IMPACT

  • Women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress.
  • Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.







STATISTICS ARE FROM THE FOLLOWING AGENCIES/WEBSITES


Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence & Stalking (CDC)

Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Data on Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

2016  STATISTICS

24/7 CRISIS HOTLINE HELP

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HOW TO SAFELY ESCAPE

SAFETY WHILE LIVING WITH AN ABUSER



A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.

A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.

Although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.


Types of Safety Planning



Safety While Living With An Abusive Partner


  • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
  • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
  • Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
  • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local shelter. If your life is in danger, call the police.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
  • Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
  • Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
  • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.



Make a plan for how you are going to leave, including where you're going to
go, and how to cover your tracks. Make one plan for if you have time to
prepare to leave the home. Make another plan for if you have to leave the
home in a hurry. Don’t keep any of this information where the abuser can
find it!



THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME FOR A VICTIM IS THE ESCAPE!



If you can, keep any evidence of the physical abuse and take it with you
when you leave. Make sure to keep this evidence in a safe place that the
abuser will not find – this may mean that you have to keep it in a locked
drawer at work or with a trusted family member. If the abuser finds it, you
could be in more danger.


Such evidence of physical abuse might include:


 Pictures you have of bruises or other injuries. If possible, try to have these pictures dated;


 Torn or bloody clothing;


 Household objects that the abuser damaged or broke during a violent episode;               


 Pictures that show your home destroyed or messed up after violence happened;   


 Any records you have from doctors or the police that document the abuse;                     

 Whenever you are hurt, go to a doctor or to an emergency room as soon as possible if you can.    Tell them what happened.     Ask them to make a record of your visit and of what happened to you. Be sure to get a copy of the record.     


 A journal that you may have kept with details about the abuse, which could help prove the abuse in court.     


 Anything else you think could help show that you've been abused.


 If you have evidence of other types of abuse (threatening voicemails, text messages, emails, etc.), bring copies of those with you as well.   


 Get a bag together that you can easily grab when you leave. Some things to include in the bag are:


 A prepaid cell phone with an activation card, that no one knows about!


 Spare car keys;                        Your driver's license, SS Card, or Green Card

 A list of your credit cards so that you can track any activity on them;


 Your checkbook;                      Money;


 Phone numbers for friends, relatives, doctors, schools, taxiservices, and your local domestic violence organization;  Don’t rely on your memory or the phone you have been using for    Numbers (In a crisis situation, it is so easy to forget!)

 A change of clothing for you and your children; Diapers (If you have a baby)

 Any medication that you or your children usually take;


 Copies or Originals if possible of your children's birth certificates, Social Security cards, school records and immunizations;


 Copies of legal documents for you and the abuser, such as Social Security cards, passports, green cards, medical records, insurance information, birth certificates, marriage license, wills, welfare identification information and copies of any court orders
(such as your protection order or custody order);


 Copies of financial documents for you and the abuser, such as pay stubs, bank account information, a list of credit cards you hold by yourself or together with the abuser;


 Any evidence you've been collecting to show that you've been abused; and

 A few things you want to keep, like photographs, jewelry or other personal items. Hide this bag somewhere the abuser will not find it (Like the trunk of your car under where the spare tire goes.) Try to keep it at the home of a trusted friend or neighbor. Avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends, as the abuser might be more likely to find it there. If you're in an emergency and need to get out right away, don't worry about gathering these things. While they're helpful to have, getting out safely should
come first.




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Hide an extra set of car keys in a place you can get to easily in case the abuser takes the car keys to prevent you from leaving.


 Try to set money aside. If the abuser controls the household money, this might mean that you can only save a few dollars per week; the most important thing is that you save whatever amount you can that will not tip off the abuser and put you in further danger. You can ask trusted friends or family members to hold money for you so that the abuser cannot find it and/or use it.


 Getting a protective order can be an important part of a safety plan when preparing to leave. Even if you get a protective order, you should still take other safety planning steps to keep yourself and your children safe. A legal protective order is not always enough to keep you safe. Locate your local Police Department about Restraining Orders section to find out more information about getting a protective order.


 Leave when the abuser will least expect it. This will give you more time to get away before the abuser realizes that you are gone.


 If you have time to call the police before leaving, you can ask the police to escort you out of the house as you leave. You can also ask them to be "on call" while you're leaving, in case you need help. Not all police precincts will help you in these ways but you may want to ask your local police station if they will.


LEAVING WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE BIOLOGICAL TO THE ABSUER


It is generally best to talk to a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence
and custody issues beforehand to make sure that you are not in danger of
violating any court custody order you may have or any criminal parental
kidnapping laws. This is especially true if you want to leave the state with
the children.


If you are considering leaving without your children, please talk to a lawyer
who specializes in custody before doing this. Leaving your children with an
abuser may negatively affect your chances of getting custody of them in court
later on.


ALWAYS, ALWAYS CALL 911, THEY CAN GET THERE QUICKLY AND HELP YOU SORT THINGS OUT SAFELY AND MAKE SURE THAT IF YOU ARE THE ONE LEAVING, THAT YOU GET ALL OF YOUR BELONGINGS AND GET OUT SAFELY OR MAKE SURE THAT THE ABUSER GETS ONLY THEIR BELONGINGS AND LEAVES PEACEFULLY - OR THEY CAN GO TO JAIL!


DO NOT EVER THINK YOU CAN JUST TALK IT OUT WITH THE ABUSER. IF THEY THINK THAT THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE, THEN THEY COULD POSSIBLY DO
ANYTHING, YOUR SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHILDREN COME FIRST! IF YOU DONT HAVE A PHONE OR IF IT IS DESTROYED OR TAKEN FROM YOU,
THEN LEAVE AND RUN TO A NEIGHBORS HOUSE AND CALL 911 OR HAVE THEM CALL 911. GET AWAY!!!!!




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