Safety plan for person in danger of domestic violence
If you are planning to leave, have the following items hidden in a place where your partner cannot find them:
- $50 or more in cash
- A small bag with extra clothes
- Bank account numbers
- Checkbook and passport
- Your social security number
- Partner's social security number
- Partner's date of birth, workplace and phone number
- Insurance policies
- Marriage license if applicable
- Birth certificate for you and any children
- List of important phone numbers
- Sentimental valuables
- Extra keys for house and/or car
- Don't tell your partner where you are going
Domestic violence perpetrators: Seek control of the thoughts, beliefs and conduct of their partner; punish their partner for resisting control
Men who batter
- Minimize the seriousness of their violence.
- Distrust others
- Act impulsively
- Need to control people and situations
- Express feelings as anger
A batterer covers up his violence by denying, minimizing, and blaming the victim. He often convinces his partner that the abuse is less serious than it is, or that it is her fault. He may tell her that "if only" she had acted differently, he wouldn't have abused her. Sometimes he will say, "You made me do it." Victims of abuse do not cause violence. The batterer is responsible for every act of abuse committed.
Domestic violence is a learned behavior. It is learned through:
- Community (peer group, school, etc.).
Characteristics of a batterer:
- Controlling behavior
- Quick involvement
- Unrealistic expectations
- Isolation of victim
- Blames others for his problems
- Blames others for his feelings
- Cruelty to animals or children
- "Playful" use of force during sex
- Verbal abuse
- Rigid sex roles
- Jekyll and Hyde type personality
- Breaking or striking objects
- Any force during an argument
- Objectification of women
- Tight control over finances
- Minimization of the violence
- Manipulation through guilt
- Extreme highs and lows
- Expects her to follow his orders
- Frightening rage
- Use of physical force
- Closed mindedness
Abusers often try to manipulate the "system" by:
- Threatening to call Child Protective Services or the Department of Human Resources and making actual reports that his partner neglects or abuses the children.
- Changing lawyers and delaying court hearings to increase his partner's financial hardship.
- Telling everyone (friends, family, police, etc.) that she is "crazy" and making things up.
- Using the threat of prosecution to get her to return to him.
- Telling police she hit him, too.
- Giving false information about the criminal justice system to confuse his partner or prevent her from acting on her own behalf.
- Using children as leverage to get and control his victim.
Abusers may try to manipulate their partners, especially after a violent episode.
He may try to "win" her back in some of these ways:
- Invoking sympathy from her, her family and friends.
- Talking about his "difficult childhood".
- Becoming overly charming, reminding her of the good times they've had.
- Bringing romantic gifts, flowers, dinner.
- Crying, begging for forgiveness.
- Promising it will "never happen again."
- Promising to get counseling, to change.
Abuse gets worse and more frequent over time.
Domestic violence comes to work
North Carolina is one of 20 states encouraging employers to adopt policies as part of a campaign by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Hundreds of companies already have launched general domestic violence awareness programs and now a growing number offer victims special protection.
Experts estimate domestic violence costs American businesses $3 billion to $5 billion in health care costs, absences and reduced productivity.
Dealing with abuse in the workplace
Here are some steps abuse victims can take to protect themselves at work:
- Talk with someone you trust at the workplace.
- Tell security of your safety concerns.
- Provide a picture of the batterer and a copy of protective orders.
- Have your calls screened.
- Transfer harassing calls to security.
- Have a security guard escort you to your car.
- Ask co-workers to call the police if your partner threatens or harasses you at work.
- Ask about flexible or alternative work hours.
- Notify child-care provider of potential problems.
Here are some ways co-workers can help victims of abuse:
- Be alert to signs: lack of concentration, increased or unexplained absences, placing or receiving harassing phone calls, injuries that the victim doesn't explain.
- If co-workers confide in you that they are being abused, believe them and don't judge them
- Tell them they don't have to stay in the abusive situation and help is available.
Reprinted with permission from The Charlotte Observer.
Copyright owned by The Charlotte Observer.