Close the Door on Intimate Partner Violence
Many people believe that intimate partner violence (also called domestic violence)
is a concern. But they still don't understand the full scope of the problem.
The CDC defines intimate partner violence as real or threatened physical or sexual
violence, stalking, or psychological and emotional abuse, directed at a current or
former spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or dating partner. Intimate
partner violence can happen among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require
An abusive relationship often develops slowly. It may not be easy to identify abuse.
It may not be obvious. Early signs may include:
Other signs of an abusive relationship include:
Having to ask your partner for permission to make decisions
Being denied access to economic support such as cash or credit cards
Having to limit time with your family or friends because your partner demands
Giving in to sex against your will
If you are a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who is, these suggestions
Explore your choices
Anyone in an abusive situation knows that trying to get out of the situation can be
hard and even dangerous. This doesn't mean that you don't have choices. First, contact
your local domestic violence organization or the National Coalition Against Domestic
Violence. It provides crisis intervention, information, and referrals to local organizations.
Make a safety plan
A safety plan is a list of things you can do to help increase safety for you and your
children. For example, identify areas in the house that are safe. These are areas
where there are no weapons and where you can go during an argument. Always keep your
cell phone nearby so that you can call for help. Have important numbers on speed dial.
Or memorize them. Let neighbors or friends you trust know about the situation. And
come up with visual or verbal signals you can use with them. Use these signals to
tell them that abuse is happening and you need them to call the police.
Getting ready to leave
Changing or leaving an abusive situation needs careful planning. If you've decided
to leave, here are some ways you can get ready:
Tell someone about the abuse. Know where you can get help and who can help you.
Find out about your rights. Learn about state laws that protect women. Also find
local resources such as battered women's shelters. Ask for help in getting ready
Keep important documents together in a safe place in your home or in the home
of someone you can trust. These documents include extra checks, credit cards,
address book, identification cards, birth certificates, and documents of abuse.
If you have children, include copies of their important documents as well.
Put aside cash if you can. Also hide an extra set of car keys.
Plan for a quick escape and know where and how you will escape.
You can get a protective order from a court to keep the abusive partner away
from your home and work. Ask about victim advocate support services when you
seek the protective order.
Get job skills as you can. This can help you become financially independent.
While there is danger in leaving, it's also dangerous to stay with an abuser.
The violence often becomes more frequent and severe over time. You can't stop
an abuser's actions. But you can take steps to get out of the abusive situation
and start to put your life back on track.
If you need help, call 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) to speak to a representative
from the National Domestic Violence hotline. Help is available 24/7. It's
anonymous and confidential.