What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors. At one end of the spectrum there may not be actual hitting. It may manifest as yelling, demeaning behavior, belittling, making you feel worthless and stupid or "crazy". Name calling, hitting the wall, throwing things across the room, taking your money, threatening to hurt himself if you say you’ll leave is a part of the abusive behavior. At the other end of the spectrum, there may be rape and actual physical violence.
Planning to Leave
The most dangerous and lethal time is when you abuser actually knows that you are planning to leave. When there are any types of weapons, lethality goes up. Pets are also at risk, since abusers may hurt anything you love.
If you are planning to leave the abuser, the following items should be with you or placed in someone’s trust: identification for yourself and your children, social security cards, school and vaccination records, money, medications, driver’s license and registration, welfare identification, lease, rental or mortgage information, bank accounts, check books and ATM cards, children’s favorite toys and/blankets.
If he gives you a phone, ask yourself "Does he really love me?" or is this the start of a controlling relationship? Remember, he can locate you by your cell and keep checking up on you all day long.
What is abuse? It is about power and control.
Resources for Support
Help Guide - resources on safety planning and where you can get help
The Hotline - National Domestic Abuse helpline