As a company, we feel that we have a moral obligation to talk about domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is, unfortunately, a factor in many separation and divorce cases and we understand that spreading awareness about the many forms domestic abuse takes, as well as what to do when you are in a dangerous situation, is something that we can help with. That's why, together with ret. Judge David Kennedy, we are creating an eBook that includes how to recognize and safely get help with a domestic abusive situation. The eBook includes a list of 18 questions to ask yourself about your relationship and checklist of what to do to safely remove yourself from a dangerous or unhealthy situation. Even if domestic abuse is not an issue in your relationship, the likelihood that you know someone experiencing domestic abuse is painfully high.
The eBook will be available soon. In the meantime, here are 18 questions you should be asking yourself if you think you may be experiencing abuse in your relationship:
•Do you feel like a prisoner in your own home, unable to come and go as you please?
•Does your partner follow you, or show up at your work, school or friends’ homes?
•Does your partner put you down or call you names?
•Does your partner threaten or intimidate you, physically or verbally?
•Does your partner ever force you to have sex when you don’t want to?
•Does your partner refuse to practice safe sex, putting you at risk of contracting STDs?
•Does your partner get jealous when you spend time with family or friends?
•Does your partner often accuse you of sleeping around?
•Does your partner monitor your actions and force you to account for your time?
•Is your partner violent with your children or your pets?
•Does your partner threaten to take your children or call Social Services on you?
•Does your partner act like two different people (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?)
•Does your partner insult your racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, or class
•Does your partner humiliate you through actions or words privately or in front of others?
•Does your partner threaten to reveal your sexual identity to your family, work, or faith community?
•Does your partner ever slap, shove, grab, hit, kick, punch or restrain you against your will?
•Does your partner ever say, “I can’t live without you,” or “I’d kill myself if you ever left me” or similar things?
•Does your partner minimize or deny things that s/he has done to you?
If you have answered yes to even one question that is a reason to honestly look hard at your relationship in light of the other questions. If you answered yes to two or more questions, you are in an abusive relationship!
So what next?
If you are being abused, you are not alone. Violence and abuse are not your fault. Abuse occurs in every town and city, to people of all ethnic, racial, faith, and political groupings, in all economic classes, and to people of all levels of ability, at all ages and of all sexual orientations and occupations.
If you believe that you have been a victim in a relationship in which there has been domestic abuse of any kind, or if you are unsure about this question, contact your local domestic abuse project and seek their help. Domestic abuse projects exist in almost every city or county in the United States. These projects have trained advocates who are able to expertly evaluate whether domestic abuse is present in your relationship and to give you appropriate practical and legal advice. You can find your local agency through call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233); http://www.thehotline.org, or look here: http://nnedv.org/resources/coalitions.html.
When you contact your local DV project, do so at a time and place where your partner will not be aware of the contact. Do not put your personal safety at risk. However, not everyone will be willing or able to take this step. At a minimum, if you believe that you are in this situation, you should develop a safety plan that spells out ahead of time what you will do to protect yourself, or your children, or all of you if your situation worsens.
Our next post will include the safety plan. Check back soon, and stay safe.
-The X2X Team