What is Dating and Domestic Violence?
Dating or domestic violence is not a disagreement, it represents a violation of trust. Violence against women is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44. It encompasses a wide range of acts committed by one partner against another in a relationship. These acts can include breaking objects, hurting pets, yelling,. Driving to endanger, isolating family members from others, and controlling resources like money, vehicles, credit and time. This can occur in a variety of relationships: co-habitual, dating, married, separated, divorced, heterosexual, or gay/lesbian. Control is the goal of domestic violence – the abuser develops a cycle of violence which grows in severity and frequency. It is a learned pattern of behavior whose effects, without intervention, become more destructive over time and can become lethal. The progression of violence is:
- Verbal abuse, hitting objects, throwing objects & making threats.
- Slapping, pinching, kicking, pulling of hair.
- Choking, beating-with objects (sticks, ball bats, etc…), use of weapons, and sexual assault.
One in 3 women in battering relationships are sexually assaulted. While drinking and drug use, do not cause battering, these elements can create a violent situation. When chemical dependency is involved, both the injuries and lethality of abuse may increase.
WARNING SIGNS OF DATING & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Frequently, there are signs that dating/domestic violence is happening in a relationship. If you have observed any of the following things in a relationship, dating/domestic violence could be happening and you might be able to take action to help.
Warning signs of dating/domestic violence include:
- One partner checks up on the other partner;
- One partner puts the other down;
- One partner tries to control the other.
- One partner acts jealous or possessive and says it’s a sign of love;
- One partner destroys or threatens to destroy the other’s belongings.
- One partner threatens to hurt the other, friends, family members, or pets;
- One partner touches the other in a way or ways, or at times that are uncomfortable;
- One partner blames the other one and other people for everything, and gets angry in a way. that scares the other partner or observers;
- One partner says that the concerns of the other about the relationship are not real or not important.
IF YOU ARE/HAVE BEEN A VICTIM…
- Call 911 if an emergency or immediate danger exists.
- Tell someone. Go any place where people can give you emotional support.
- Go to the hospital. See a doctor immediately for treatment or any injuries.
- Report the assault. Reporting an assault does not mean you must press charges, but it may prevent yourself and others from further abuse.
- Seek counseling. A professional can help you regain the trust, support, and faith in your own judgment that the incident has damaged.
- Remember you are not alone. Assault is far too common in dating and cohabitation situations. Nationally, it happens to one in four women.
HOW TO GET OUT OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
- Tell your friends you are having problems and identify the individual.
- In a public place and with several friends, tell the abuser you no longer wish to see or hear from him/her.
- Tell them you will contact the police and you expect no harassment from them.
- Seek counseling.
SAFETY PLANNING TO LEAVE AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
- Safety planning is critical for people who have been battered or threatened by their partners. The danger of violence, including the risk of death, escalates when a dating/domestic violence survivor attempts to leave an abuser or take any legal or financial steps to separate, you must plan for your safety. It is also crucial to have a safety plan if you or someone you know continues to live with a batterer. Help yourself, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a client to address their safety plan, including survival strategies at home, at the workplace, and in court or public places.
- Plan and practice an escape route out of the home and a safety plan for the children.
- Keep a bag packed and hidden in a safe place at home or with a relative or friend including:
- Money for at least one month of expenses, clothing, diapers, court documents, passports, identification (social security cards, driver’s license, welfare identification, family photographs), birth certificates, school and medical records, necessary medicines, credit cards, checkbooks, work permits, green cards, lease/mortgage payments, insurance papers, bank books, telephone/address books, car/house keys, and ownership documents for car/house.
- Victims of dating and domestic violence, perpetuators, and their children, usually require intervention to end the violence. If you require intervention to end the violence. If you are a victim, an abuser, or someone who wants to help, identifying the appropriate resources in your community can be one of the most important things you can do.
- Crime Victims Assistance Program, on campus at (936) 261-3564, for information and referrals.
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224 (for the hearing impaired) for immediate help.
- Call the Houston Area Women’s Center for Hotline Shelter Intake, Counseling and Information/Referrals at (713) 528-2121.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIGHT DATING AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Justice system is struggling with an increasing number of cases relating to dating and domestic violence. The business community suffers a loss of employee productivity and absenteeism because of dating and domestic violence. We all need to take steps to end this national problem. Volunteer your time to help the Crime Victim Assistance Program. Support your local shelter by organizing fund raising activities.
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