You don’t have to be a victim of domestic violence
One out of four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point during their lifetime.
Domestic violence can take many forms: it involves using intimidation and threats or violent behavior to gain power and control over another person. Usually the abusive person is a male and women are often the victims. However, domestic violence also occurs against males. Child abuse, elder abuse and sibling abuse are also considered domestic violence.
If you have questions about domestic abuse and your personal situation, contact your Novant Health doctor, a local battered-women's shelter, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:
Psychological consequences for victims of intimate partner violence can include depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, lowered self-esteem, alcohol and other drug abuse as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because verbal and emotional abuse often take place before physical violence, you should be aware of warning signs that include extreme jealousy, possessiveness, a bad temper, unpredictability, cruelty to animals and verbal abusiveness.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence urges women in abusive relationships to create a safety plan. The following plan may help you in difficult situations:
- Find a safe place to go in your home if an argument begins. Avoid rooms without an exit and rooms with potential dangers, such as a kitchen.
- Know who to contact in a crisis and establish a code word or sign among trusted family or friends to let them know you need help.
- Memorize all important phone numbers.
- Always keep money and change with you.
- Keep important papers and documents in a place you can easily access, if necessary, including Social Security cards, birth certificates, marriage license, checkbook, charge cards, bank statements, health insurance cards and any records of past abuse, including photographs and police reports.
If you are suffering from domestic violence, you are not alone. Remember that help is available and you have the right to live without fear and violence. Without help, abuse will continue and place you at risk for serious harm.