October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To help raise awareness, here are resources and information for recognizing domestic violence, and getting (or giving) help.
Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship:
Use the points below to determine whether you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is an abusive relationship.
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
• Feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
• Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
• Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
• Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
• Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
• Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:
• Humiliate or yell at you?
• Criticize you and put you down?
• Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
• Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
• Blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
• See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:
• Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
• Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
• Threaten to take your children away or harm them?
• Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
• Force you to have sex?
• Destroy your belongings?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
Does your partner:
• Act excessively jealous and possessive?
• Control where you go or what you do?
• Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
• Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
• Constantly check up on you?
• Often accuse you of lying about where you go/who you are with?
Where to Get (and Give) Help:
The National Center for Victims of Crime (https://www.victimsofcrime.org/):
The Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) can help victims and family members of crimes such as: Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Assault, Sexual Assault and other related crimes. Victims: The direct victim of a violent crime is generally eligible for compensation. Some states only compensate victims who were physically injured in the course of the crime, while others also compensate victims of violent crime who were traumatized but not physically injured by the crime. Family members: Families of homicide victims can get compensation to pay medical bills and funeral or burial expenses, and to pay for counseling and loss of support. Some states will compensate family members in certain other types of cases; for example, paying for counseling for family members in cases of sexual assault, child abuse, or domestic violence.
National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233): Open 24/7, this line is a resource for safety information and can connect any caller with shelters and protection advocates in their area.
VINE (vinelink.com): Active in 47 states, vinelink.com allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender has been released or transferred, or has escaped.
Women’s Law (womenslaw.org): This site has state-by-state legal information and resources for victims, as well as advice on how to leave an abusive situation, gather evidence of abuse, and prepare for court.
Amy’s Courage Fund (nnedv.org/projects): The fund gives emergency financial assistance to women trying to escape a domestic abuse situation. Grants are available for up to $2,000.
Education and Job Training Assistance Fund (nnedv.org/projects): Grants from the Allstate Foundation help domestic violence victims enter and stay in the workforce. The money (up to $1,000) can be used for classes, clothes, computers, and other resources.
Face to Face (800-842-4546): This program provides free plastic and reconstructive surgery to victims who’ve sustained injuries to the face, head or neck.
Give Back a Smile (800-773-4227): Front teeth damaged by a violent partner or spouse are repaired pro bono.
For confidential help, clients and family can contact ACI Specialty Benefits—your employee assistance program—at (800) 932-0034 or email@example.com.
Source: http://www.healthguide.org, and Oprah Magazine, October 2009. This material is for information and support; not a substitute for professional advice.