WHAT IS DOMESTIC ABUSE?
Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners.
There are three categories that abuse often falls into:
- Continually criticizing you, calling you names and cursing at you
- Isolating you from work, friends, family or social activities
- Humiliating you in private and/or public
- Lying and trying to manipulate you
- Threatening to harm you and/or other family members
- Using intimidation to gain cooperation
- Threatening to take your kids away or using visitations to harass you
- Using or displaying weapons
- Throwing objects at you or others
- Smashing or destroying property
- Driving recklessly with you in the car
- Pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, strangling, spitting, or restraining you or other family members
- Insisting that you dress in a more sexual way than you wish
- Insisting on unwanted or uncomfortable touching
- Calling you sexually explicit names
- Video taping or photographing you without or knowledge or consent
Although some types of abuse are clearly more dangerous than others, all show a lack of respect and are an effort to intimidate and control you.
When thinking about leaving, each individual situation is unique. Project Woman is here to help you create a Safety Plan for your specific needs if you would like. If you are considering leaving, some key items to have with you at all times are:
- Driver’s license or other form of ID
- Birth certificate and social security card for you and your children
- Money, bank books, check books, ATM card
- Divorce and custody papers, copies of protection orders
- Medication, glasses, hearing aids, etc.
Adapted from ODVN’s Safety Plan for Victims of Domestic Violence
WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Sexual Assault is any unwanted sexual contact or attention achieved by force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, tricks, or violence. It is a crime of power & control where sexual acts are used to dominate and humiliate the individual.
If YOU are being abused . . .
Don’t blame yourself! In an emergency, get to a safe place and call 911. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, call Project Woman at 1-937-325-3707, or go directly to the hospital.
- Talk with someone you trust — a good friend, a caring health care or social worker, a sensitive family member, or an understanding person from your faith community.
- Talk with someone who will:
- Listen to you
- Believe you
- Not blame you
- Not discriminate against you
- Keep what you tell them confidential
- Allow you to make your own decisions
If you have been raped . . .
- Seek safety
- Do not shower, bathe, douche, wash your hands, brush your teeth, use the toilet, or smoke to prevent destruction of evidence.
- Go to the hospital for an exam
- Do not change your clothing. Take all the clothes you were wearing with you for evidence. If possible, bring an extra change of clothes with you when you go to the hospital.
- Do not straighten up your house or apartment if it was the scene of the crime.
- Locate an organization that offers services for survivors of sexual assault
It is normal for survivors to have a variety of responses after an assault. It is common to have feelings such a guilt, shame, depression, hopelessness, fear, denial or powerlessness.
- Do not blame the survivor for the assault.
- Don’t push them to talk, but also do not assume they have completely recovered.
- Accept the survivor’s reactions, whatever they may be. Avoid comparing their experience to others’ experiences.
- Address immediate concerns, particularly medical and legal issues. Help identify options and information.
- Do not take control of the situation. Remember, the survivor has been robbed of all sense of control, so letting them make decisions will be empowering. Support their decisions, even if you disagree with them.
- Help identify a support system and encourage them to seek counseling or help.
- Be patient and let him/her recover at their own rate. It may take weeks, months or years. Survivors may never “forget” the attack.
- Take care of your own feelings, but don’t let them overshadow those of the survivor. Do not hesitate to seek outside help form a rape crisis center, counselor, or friend.