Domestic Violence in a family has a major influence on a persons life. It is never good to experience and most of us who have parents who have been through it, have a lot of work to go through. It is also most difficult to understand why and how it happens because it seems to be something that not many people are keen to talk about openly. For example, women might be easy to forgive and conjure up an excuse for their partner, telling friends and doctors that the bruises are from an accident. A man may omit sharing any experiences of humiliation and psychological abuse from his partner out of fear or embarrassment. Why does this happen? Why don’t these people just leave the person? It doesn’t make any sense! Well, it could be any reason from financial dependency to fear that they won’t have the support that they need to keep the abuser away after they leave. Sometimes people live in fear long after they have left the unhealthy relationship.
Some of the most frustrating times of my life have been spent trying to get someone to understand that possessiveness, codependency, and intimidation does not equal love. Was I successful? Not really. Did it affect me as a child? Of course, it did. Did I make it through? The answer is a big fat yes. It was not easy, but I took full responsibility for my life and how it turned out and I am grateful.
So, how did I make it through life this far without letting my past and my mother’s example of love pin me down into a life sentence of feelings of unworthiness and pity?
The answer: Time, education and inviting quality people into my life. The first thing I had to do was stop letting my past control me. I had to stop thinking I can rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and understand that I am worthy of all of the things in life I have always wanted, a loving partner, good friends and unforgettable life experiences. It was time to stop playing the victim and take control of the wheel. After I did this, then everything changed. I was free.
The point of this post is not to talk about how to get over this experience, that will be another time. The point is just to talk about it. Not everyone has the resources and the opportunities to get out of the situation they are in, that is why there is a lot of work to be done. The more we talk about it and let it be known that it is not normal and that we do not have to go through these things alone, the more men and women feel like they will have a voice and are able to steal their lives back and start living fully.
Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Co-Dependency is not always physical
Taking money from the other person whenever they get paid and not letting them have any personal say in how they spend it, controlling every aspect of finances.
Requiring a partner to accompany them everywhere, making them feel rude or unfaithful because they choose not to.
Degrading her or him or making fun of the others personal hobbies, to the point that they neglect their own interests.
Limiting access to the partners education.
Asking the partner who he or she is trying to impress or calling them names when they attempt to put on make-up or dress up nice, leading to the point where they begin to wear nothing but unisex and baggier clothes that does not show off any of her form.
Any form of hitting or physical violence, for any reason.
Pressure to do drugs or drink then putting the other person down for getting hooked on substances.
Having sex or sexual contact with the other partner while asleep or without permission, no matter how long you have been together or if you are in a serious relationship.
Any form of manipulation or intimidation
Not giving a partner privacy and stalking them at work
Not giving them privacy at home for personal care or family matters
Not letting the other partner have their own non-mutual friends or accusing them of cheating every time they make any.
All of these are tactics that break down a person to make them things that they are not capable of having a loving partner who treats them with respect.
At this point, the partner forgives easily because he or she does not understand the level of respect that he or she is entitled to or deserves. When a child sees this, this is what they are taught. They will expect nothing more than this from their own relationships. This shows the children that they use force to get what they want, and not their words.
Domestic Violence Does Not Only Happen to Women
Men can be abused. Men can be abused by women. It is common for a man to let a woman abuse him and not do anything to protect himself out of fear of abusing her. Men can be also psychologically abused just as much as a woman. Partners can do so many things to hurt the other without raising a hand, such as using a child against one another and taking advantage of custody rights or withholding child support.
Abuse Can Continue After the Relationship is Over
Sometimes partners can use money as a leverage to get their way, making their ex feel like they have no power and will lose any court case or fight. Partners can use tactics such as talking bad about the other parent to the child to get the child to favour them. Other tactics include constantly being late on child support payments, not honouring agreements with custody and shared responsibilities as well as blackmail to name a few.
How can you help someone who is in this situation?
The answer is simple, let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to handle it. Give them resources. Give them resources to education. Give them resources to counsellors, to domestic violence shelters, to anonymous hotlines.
Sometimes the person will not be able to get away from the abuser and even deny that there is anything wrong. At this point, all you can do is give them the resources and let them know that you are truly there for them and are willing to help in any way you can.
TALK ABOUT IT, even if you are not being abused. Awareness helps people understand the problem and identify it as well. When a man or a woman being abused feels like there is a major support group to go to for help, they are more likely to think about it as a realistic alternative.
There is no perfectly normal family, and these challenges can help us grow and empower us to make a big difference in the lives of others. We can take responsibility for our place here on earth and pass down the knowledge to others who are in similar situations and to prevent them from happening.
Below are a list of resources for people who feel like they may know someone who is being abused or is being abused themselves. Nobody should have to feel alone. Spreading the awareness helps educate potential abusers as well and may save a life.
http://www.beckysfund.org/story/my-testimony/ - Becky’s Fund strives to address domestic violence in all sectors of our community, establish prevention-based educational programs to counter domestic violence, and collaborate with others in the community to find ways to change the behavior and thinking behind issues that cause and perpetuate domestic violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) www.ndvh.org National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center International Toll-Free (24/7) 1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636) www.866uswomen.org National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) www.childhelp.org National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE) www.rainn.org National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org National Center for Victims of Crime 1-202-467-8700 www.victimsofcrime.org National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733) www.polarisproject.org National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 1-510-465-1984 www.nnirr.org National Coalition for the Homeless 1-202-737-6444 www.nationalhomeless.org National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238 www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-888-792-2873 www.futureswithoutviolence.org National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health 1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011 www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org CHILDREN Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelpusa.org Children’s Defense Fund 202-628-8787 www.childrensdefense.org Child Welfare League of America 202-638-2952 www.cwla.org National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges Child Protection and Custody/Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-527-3233 www.ncjfcj.org Center for Judicial Excellence firstname.lastname@example.org www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org TEENS Love is respect Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org Break the Cycle 202-824-0707 www.breakthecycle.org DIFFERENTLY ABLED Domestic Violence Initiative (303) 839-5510/ (877) 839-5510 www.dviforwomen.org Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN) Email: Hotline@deafdawn.org VP: 202-559-5366 www.deafdawn.org WOMEN OF COLOR Women of Color Network 1-800-537-2238 www.wocninc.org INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence email@example.com www.incite-national.org LATINA/LATINO Alianza 1-505-753-3334 www.dvalianza.org Casa de Esperanza Linea de crisis 24-horas/24-hour crisis line 1-651-772-1611 www.casadeesperanza.org National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities 1-651-646-5553 www.nationallatinonetwork.org IMMIGRANT The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (202) 274-4457 http://www.niwap.org/ INDIGENOUS WOMEN National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center 855-649-7299 www.niwrc.org Indigenous Women’s Network 1-512-258-3880 www.indigenouswomen.org ASIAN/PACIFIC ISLANDER Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence 1-415-954-9988 www.apiidv.org Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) 1-212- 473-6485 www.caaav.org Manavi 1-732-435-1414 www.manavi.org AFRICAN-AMERICAN Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community 1-877-643-8222 www.dvinstitute.org The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute 1-770-909-0715 www.bcdvi.org LESBIAN, BI-SEXUAL, GAY, TRANSGENDER, GENDER NON-CONFORMING The Audre Lorde Project 1-178-596-0342 www.alp.org LAMBDA GLBT Community Services 1-206-350-4283 http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/orgs/avproject/main.htm National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 1-212-714-1184 www.ncavp.org National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 1-202-393-5177 www.ngltf.org Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse 1-206-568-7777 www.nwnetwork.org ABUSE IN LATER LIFE National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life 1-608-255-0539 www.ncall.us National Center for Elder Abuse 1-855-500-3537 http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/ MEN National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) 1-720-466-3882 www.nomas.org A Call to Men 1-917-922-6738 www.acalltomen.org Men Can Stop Rape 1-202-265-6530 www.mencanstoprape.org Men Stopping Violence 1-866-717-9317 www.menstoppingviolence.org LEGAL American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence 1-202-662-1000 www.abanet.org/domviol Battered Women’s Justice Project 1-800-903-0111 www.bwjp.org Legal Momentum 1-212-925-6635 www.legalmomentum.org Womenslaw.org www.womenslaw.org National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women 1-800-903-0111 x 3 www.ncdbw.org EUROPE AMCV- Associação de Mulheres Contra a Violência http://mulher.sapo.pt/J92/276923.html APAV- Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima http://www.apav.pt/home.html CIDM- Comissão Para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres http://www.cidm.pt Comissão para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres http://www.cidm.pt Cooperativa Sociale - Italy http://www.gaf.pt Escola C+S de Almeida Garrett http://www.malhatlantica.pt GAF- Gabinete de Atendimento à Família http://www.promosud.it UMAR- União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta http://www.terravista.pt National Human Trafficking Hotline - 1-888-373-7888 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.humantraffickinghotline.org International Directory of Domestic Violence - http://www.hotpeachpages.net/europe/ AUSTRIA IBF - Intervention Centre for Victims of Trafficking in Women + 43 1-796 92 98 BELGIUM PAG-ASA + 32 2 511 64 64 Payoke +32 3 201 16 90 Sürya +32 4 232 40 30 Multilingual brochure for victims of human trafficking BULGARIA National Hotline for Victims of Violence(operated by Foundation “Animus Association”): 0800 186 76 National Hotline for Children (operated by the State Agency for Child Protection and Foundation “Animus Association”): 116 111 National Human Trafficking Resource Line: (operated by A21 Bulgaria): 0800 20 100 CZECH REPUBLIC La Strada SOS Hotline +420 222 71 71 71 DENMARK - ESTONIA Human Trafficking Prevention and Victim Help Hotline +372 6607 320 FINLAND System for victim assistance +358 71 876 3170 FRANCE National Coordination for protection of victims of human trafficking hotline (Ac.Sé): 0 825 009 907 GREECE Human Trafficking Resource Line (operated by Α21 Campaign): 1109 (for international calls please call 0030-2310-525149) HUNGARY Hotline telephone number for victims of domestic violence or Trafficking (Available 24/7) In Hungary: 06-80/20-55-20 – Crisis Management and Information Hotline. Abroad: 0036 80/20-55-20 IRELAND Hotline for the confidential reporting of suspicions of trafficking:1800 25 00 25 ITALY National hotline against trafficking 800 290 290 LATVIA Hotline against trafficking (in Latvian) 80002012 LITHUANIA Klaipedasocial and psychological services centre 8 800 66366 Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau mailbox for providing information in connection with human trafficking. LUXEMBOURG Luxembourgnational contact for expertise in the field combating and preventing of trafficking in Human Beings (Police Grand-Ducale) +352 4997 6210 Out of hours contact: Centre d'Intervention National: +352 4997 2341 MALTA Vice and Economic Crime, Police General Headquarters, contact for victims of human trafficking or reporting a crime in relation to human trafficking +356 2294 2000 NETHERLANDS CoMensha (in Dutch) +31 33 4481186 POLAND National Intervention and Consultation Centre for Victims of Trafficking +48 22 628 01 20 PORTUGAL Hotline against trafficking 800 202 148 SOS Imigrante, hotline for all migrant situations 808 257 257 ROMANIA Hotline against trafficking 0800 800 678 SLOVAKIA Slovak Crisis Center DOTYK + 421 903 704 784 SLOVENIA KLJUČ KEY- Society, Centre for the fight against trafficking in persons: 080 17 22 SPAIN Institut de la Femme 900 191 010, 900 152 152 SWEDEN National Support line, a national telephone support line for women who have been subjected to threats and violence: 020 50 50 50 Terrafem, a non-profit organisation that runs a national helpline for immigrant women: 020 52 10 10 Report child trafficking (in Swedish) For more information please visit website of the National organisation for Women’s and Girls’ Shelters in Sweden. UNITED KINGDOM CRIMESTOPPERS, for victims of human trafficking or people having information that will help lead to the identification and recovery of victims in the UK: 0800 555 111