Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, education, or religion. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or in a dating relationship.
Domestic violence should not happen to anybody. For any reason. Ever.
There are many misconceptions about domestic violence. When most people think about partner abuse they immediately think of physical abuse. Domestic violence is not necessarily just physical abuse—it can be emotional, sexual, verbal and financial. It includes behaviors that arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish, or force them to behave in ways they do not want. If you are in immediate, physical danger, GET OUT OR CALL 911.
If you’re not sure if you are in a relationship that would be considered unhealthy or abusive, here are some questions to help you:
- Feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
- Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
- Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
- Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
- Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Does your partner:
- Humiliate or yell at you? Criticize you and put you down? Use hurtful and shaming words?
- Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
- Blame you for their own abusive behavior?
- Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
- Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
- Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
- Force you to have sex?
- Destroy your belongings?
- Control where you go or what you do? Keep you from seeing your friends or family? Act excessively jealous and possessive?
- Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
If these sound familiar, please know that what you are experiencing is not your fault—you did nothing to deserve it and your partner cannot justify their behavior.
It is critical that you start identifying potential avenues of support in your life. Are there friends or family members you can talk to? If you are living with an abusive partner, are there people you might be able to stay with?
If you are scared, struggling, and pregnant, contact Prestonwood Pregnancy Center. Everything that you share with us is confidential. We are safe and caring and will help you come up with a plan that protects you and your child(ren). We will also help connect you with agencies that can help you know your rights, that will advocate and go to court with you, and provide shelter.
We can be reached at (972)386-4015, or chat with us online at https://prestonwoodpregnancy.org/.
You are not alone and there are resources available for you to help you navigate next steps, create a safety plan, and even leave when necessary. Be brave and tell someone—it could save your or your children’s lives.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Office of Women’s Health: https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/domestic-violence