There are many types of domestic violence. Physical abuse is just one of them. Other forms of abuse are mental, sexual and emotional. These abuse cases may not be too obvious but they are all harmful because they are more often overlooked, particularly by the victim. Men, women, children and the elderly can all be victims of some form of abuse.
There are several underlying reasons for an abusive behavior. Some of these are:
- raised in an abusive environment and received no counseling
- witnessed constant abuse or had been a victim of child abuse
- had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, suffering from depression, has an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, lacks parenting skills, suffer from stress, low-self esteem
For someone who is suffering from physical abuse, here are some measures you can take to prevent the abuse from happening again.
1. Muster the confidence to speak out or stand up to the abuser. Though this is very difficult to do, this is basically one of the most essential steps to take. Study the behavior pattern of the abuser and the triggers that cause a person to be violent. Learn not to be present as a target for the abuse. Have some ready reasons you can use to get out of the house.
2. Find an area in the house where you and/or your children can seek refuge. Avoid closets, bathrooms and the kitchen. Choose a room with a phone or go outside or stay near a window where people outside can see you.
3. Build a trustworthy network of friends, co-workers and neighbors. Tell them that you are suffering from physical abuse, get their commitment to support you and provide assistance when you need it. Invent a signal, password or code to let your children and your network know when you are in danger and they should contact the authorities.
4. Devise an escape plan and put it in place.
- Ensure that your car always has gas
- Park it facing the driveway exit with the driver’s door left unlocked
- Have a set of spare keys made and hide it in a place where you can easily get it
- Pack an emergency bag with clothing, cash, important documents and phone numbers. Leave it with a trusted friend.
- Map your escape route and practice with your children how to escape quickly and safely.
- Program emergency numbers in the speed dial function of your cell phone
- Ask someone if they can pick you and your kids when there is an emergency, call the police or allow you and your kids to stay temporarily
5. Seek professional help. Every state has agencies that handle domestic violence to provide professional, psychological, financial and housing assistance at critical times. When seeking help, protect your privacy and cover your tracks for it is very likely that the abuser is monitoring your activities.
- Use public pay phones
- Avoid cordless phones and cell phones they are easy to tap
- Use prepaid cards when making calls so the numbers will not reflect in your phone bills
- Get your own cell phone and hide it from your partner
- Do not erase your internet history because it becomes a trigger that you are trying to hide something
- Use a computer at work, the library, at a friend’s house, or at a community center
- Change your user name and password
- Create a new email account
There are other ways that you can prevent and escape from physical abuse. Make use of all the available help that your state and the local community can give you. Do not feel ashamed when you become a victim. Keep in mind that you are not to blame, that you did not cause the violent behavior, you deserve respect, that you and your children deserve a happy and safe existence and there are people willing to help.