If you are experiencing domestic violence it can be very hard to know what to do, where to go, who to turn to. We understand and want you to know that we value you as a person, and want to help you and your children to be able to live in safety, without fear.
We also know that it is difficult to decide when to do something about your situation. Only you know when the time is right. We are here to help you by providing information and contacts to people and agencies that can help when you decide to take action.
The following sections of our site contain information you might find helpful. If you can do so safely, we encourage you to browse this information. If you are in danger, we urge you to instead contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-7233, or contact us locally at: 1-800-782-6400. We can help!
How do I know if I’m in an abusive relationship?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their partners and get their way. Relationships in which one partner uses assault and coercion can be found among married and unmarried heterosexuals, lesbians, and gay males. Battering is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents an individual from doing what she/he wishes of forces her/him to behave in ways she/he does not want to.
Here are some warning signs that you may be in an abusive relationship:
- Verbal Abuse – Coercion, Threats and Blaming: threatening to hurt or kill you, your children or pets, name calling, yelling or telling you you are unattractive or undesirable.
- Intimidation: making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
- Emotional Abuse: putting you down, making you feel bad about yourself, calling you names, making you think you’re crazy, playing mind games, humiliating you or making you feel guilty.
- Economic Abuse: preventing you from getting or keeping a job, making you ask for money, giving you an allowance, taking your money or letting you know about or have access to family income.
- Isolation: controlling what you do, who you see or talk to, what you read, where you go, limiting your outside involvement or using jealousy to justify actions.
- Using Male Privilege: treating you like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like ‘master of the castle’, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
- Using Children: making you feel guilty about the children, using children to relay messages, using visitation to harass you, threatening to take the children away.
- Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: making light of abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously, saying abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior or saying you caused it.
How is your relationship?
Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
- Take your money or Social Security, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
- Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Make all the decisions?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you, or hit you?
- Force you to drop charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to kill you?