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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence affects all of us. Even if you've never been a victim of domestic violence, you most certainly have a friend or family member who has experienced domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate based on race, income, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. There is no reason for victims of domestic violence to be ashamed or feel the need to hide their experience from those who love and support them.

That said, leaving a violent relationship isn't always easy. Although it may seem like a simple choice to those who have never experienced a violent relationship, leaving can be painful, and it takes a great deal of courage. If you are in a violent relationship, or if you suspect someone you know or love may be in a violent relationship, please look over the information below and contact us for advice and help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Informational Videos

Contacting Douglas County Task force

Additional Domestic Violence Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is domestic violence?

How do I know if my relationship is abusive?

What can I do to protect myself?

Why does my partner abuse me?

Will my partner change?

What can I do if I suspect a friend or family member is being abused?

How can I obtain a temporary protective order?

 

What is Domestic Violence?

In laymen's terms, domestic violence occurs when one person causes harm, either emotional or physical to someone that they live with or have lived with in the past. Of course, that's a very general definition, but domestic violence incidents are often case specific and vary widely.

Domestic violence is the occurrence of one of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are the parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the household:

  • Simple battery
  • Battery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Stalking
  • Criminal Damage
  • Unlawful Restraint
  • Criminal Trespass

The above actions have specific legal definitions and sometimes it is difficult for someone in an abusive relationship to determine whether or not their situation rises to the level of what would be considered "domestic violence" in the legal sense. If you believe that you may be experiencing domestic violence, please contact us at 678-715-1196 for more information.

How do I know if my relationship is abusive?

While incidents of sexual or physical abuse, or threats to commit them, are apparent instances of domestic violence, there is often other, less obvious signals that a relationship is or may become abusive. Check the list below to see if your partner exhibits any of the following traits:

  • Using coercion or threats
  • Using emotional abuse
  • Using isolation
  • Using intimidation
  • Using children
  • Minimizing, denying, and blaming
  • Sexual abuse
  • Using male privilege
  • Using economic abuse

All of the traits above are taken from the "Power and Control Wheel." Click here to see how all these traits work together or separately to create an abusive environment.

What can I do to protect myself?

If you are in a violent relationship, only you can determine the safest course of action because only you understand the situation in its entirely; however, you should know that there are many resources available to help you escape from a violent relationship if you are ready, such as domestic violence shelters, temporary protective orders, and counseling. If you would like to learn more about these options, please contact us at 678-715-1196.

If you do not feel that you can leave your situation, or if you are too frightened to leave right now, there are some things that can help to protect you while you remain in an abusive relationship.

  • Know what sets your partner off: watch for signs that your partner is getting out of control. Beware of drinking, drug use, and other stressers that might set your partner off, and avoid him as much as possible during those times.
  • Find safe zones in your home: Some rooms in the home are safer than others. If your partner becomes abusive, avoid rooms that contain weapons, like the kitchen, and rooms full of hard surfaces, like the bathroom. Try to stay in a room that has an easy exit so that you can escape.
  • Create code words: Create a code word and share it with your children, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or anyone else who you might come in contact with during violent encounter so that they will know to contact the police.
  • Make an escape plan: Keep a bag packed for yourself and your children in case you need to escape quickly. Make sure your bag contains an extra copy of your house and car keys as well as copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, immigration records, bank checks and/or spare cash, and anything else you may need to set up a new safe space for yourself and your children. Practice getting your bags and getting out of the house. Always keep your car keys easily accessible, and memorize emergency contact numbers so that you can quickly find help once you've gotten out of the home, and if you can, purchase a disposable cell phone and enter numbers you may need.
  • Try to maintain a support network: Abusers often attempt to isolate their victims from avenues of support. Try to make connections wherever possible. Keep in touch with friends, family co-workers, and contact our task force for support. Remember that you are not alone and there are others who care about you. Do your best to stay in contact with those people. They are your best resource for help when you need it.

Why does my partner abuse me?

Your partner DOES NOT abuse you because of anything that you have done. You DO NOT deserve to be abused, and you have done nothing to cause your partner to be abusive. You must also remember that your partner makes a choice to abuse you. Most abusers only abuse behind closed doors. They can control their anger, otherwise they would be abusive to their co-workers, friends, and to people on the street. They abuse you because they feel that they can get away with it and because it gives them a sense of power and control they cannot get elsewhere.

Domestic violence is a complicated problem. There is never really one reason that a person becomes abusive. Many abusers were abused themselves as children (although it is important to remember that not everyone who was abused as a child becomes an abuser). Most abusers suffer from very low self esteem, although they mask their low self esteem quite well and those around them may see the abuser as confident. Abusers tend to believe very strongly in an exaggerated, unrealistic notion of masculinity and see themselves as falling short of that masculine ideal, so they overcompensate, often through control and violence. Many become "emotionally needy" and depend on their partners to fill a void and so they become controlling and jealous. They tend to depend on alcohol or drugs (but not always) when they feel a lack of confidence. They often have poor communication skills, especially when it comes to discussing "feelings." Abusers often have a difficult time taking responsibility for their own behaviors and tend to blame others for their failings.

It is also important to remember that while many abusers struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction, addiction does not cause abuse. Their addiction is a secondary problem and, if they go into drug and alcohol treatment, most abusers will continue to abuse when sober.

Will my partner change?

It is important to remember that while your abuser may promise to change (particularly when apologizing), it is very unlikely that he will. It is not your responsibility to make your abuser change, and you cannot change your abuser, no matter how hard you try. Abusers seldom take responsibility for their own behavior, they have a very difficult time changing. It is much easier for the abuser to blame the victim than to take blame for abuse. Most abusers DO NOT get better. Even abusers who seek treatment have a difficult time changing their behavior.

What can I do if I suspect a friend or family member is being abused?

Be supportive, encouraging, and patient. If you suspect that a friend or family member is being abused, talk to her about it. Try to remain open and supportive and keep in mind that leaving is often more difficult than it seems. You should encourage your friend or family member to seek help, but if she refuses, you can still be supportive even if you disagree with her decision. Domestic violence is a crime of control (physical, mental, financial, and sometimes sexual) and abusive partners will often try to isolate their victims from friends and family because friends and family represent a threat to that control. Try not to let lose contact. Victims often have a difficult time leaving because they don't have support networks and because they don't feel strong enough to escape. Your understanding and committed support may provide a your friend or family member with the support system she needs to escape and may save her life.

How can I obtain a temporary protective order?

Temporary protective orders can be obtained when there is an incident of domestic violence between family members or people who share a residence or who have a child in common. For more information on temporary protective orders and for help filing an order, contact our office at 678-715-1196.

Informational Videos

ABC 20/20 Domestic Violence Special: This 20/20 episode chronicles an account of domestic violence in which the perpetrator used the children to help him harass the mother.

Florida ABC Action News Stop Domestic Violence: A one hour special exploring domestic violence, advocates, and breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

NHS Choices: Two women discussing their experiences with domestic violence and leaving.

Patrick Stewart Discussing Domestic Violence: Actor Patrick Stewart discusses his personal experience with domestic violence.

Washington State Coalition: This video is a news report on a Washington State Coalition's report on domestic violence.

Contacting Douglas County Task force

For more information or for help, please contact us at 678-715-1196

 
 

 

Victim Support Hotline:

678-715-1196

Email:

dctaskforce@yahoo.com

In an emergency, call 911

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