IN VICTIMS: Isolation from others - Low self esteem, depression - Increased alcohol or drug abuse - Emotional problems - Pain and injuries - Permanent physical damage- Death
IN CHILDREN: Emotional problems, illness - Increased fears, anger - Increased risk of abuse, injuries and death - Repetition of abusive behavior
IN SOCIETY: Increase in crime - Increase in legal, police, medical, and counseling costs. Perpetuation of cycle of violence - Perpetuation of myths of inequality of women and men - Decrease in quality of life.
Phase 1: Increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing. Victim is "walking on eggshells", trying to keep things calm.
Phase 2: Abuse Occurs- physical, emotional, sexualPhase 3: Calm, Make-Up Stage (This stage will decrease over time until there are only two Phases in the relationship.) Perpetrator may deny violence, make excuses, he's sorry, it will never happen again.
Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe.
- Keep a cell phone programmed for 911 with you at all times.
- Identify safe areas of the house that have more than one exit for escape.
- Practice how to get out safely.
- Practice with your children.
A packed survival kit should include:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Protective orders, divorce and custody papers
- ID and Social Security cards
- House and car keys
- Bank account numbers, cash and credit cards
- School and medical records
- If you consider leaving your abuser, think about...
- Four places you could go if you leave your home.
- People who might help you if you left.
Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
- Keep change for phone calls or get a cell phone.
- Open a bank account or get a credit card in your name.
- How you might leave?
Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the dog or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- How you could take your children with you safely?
There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
- Putting together a bag of things you use everyday.
Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- If you have left your abuser, think about...
- Your safety - you still need to
- Getting a cell phone.
Safe Passage may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
- Getting a Personal Protective Order from the court.
Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who take care of your children, their schools and your boss.
- Changing the locks.
Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights.
- Telling friends and neighbors that you abuser no longer lives with you.
Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up.
If you have a Personal Protective Order protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
- Telling someone at work about what has happened.
Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a Personal Protective Order that includes where you work, consider giving you boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- Someone that you can call if you feel down.
Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop.
- Safe way to speak with your abuser if you must.
- Going over your safety plan often.
WARNING: Abusers try to control their victim's lives. When abusers feel a loss of control - like when victims try to leave them - the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.