Does your partner:
- Act excessively jealous and possessive?
- Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
- Threaten suicide if you leave?
- Force you to have sex?
- Control where you go or what to do?
- Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
- Constantly check on you?
- Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?4
- Do they uses substance abuse as an excuse for what they does: “The alcohol made me do it”?
- Inability to handle frustration — they blow up and explode at small things, and react with a tantrum over minor things.5
People who are being abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Go along with everything their partner says and does
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends
- Rarely go out in public without their partner
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car4
Tips for helping a friend:
- Talk to them about what you see and assure them that you are concerned. Tell them that you believe them and that it is not their fault.
- Encourage them not to confront their partner if they are planning to leave. Their safety must be protected.
- Offer to provide childcare while they seek help.
- Offer your home as a safe haven to them, their children and pets. If they accept your offer, do not let their partner in.
- Encourage them to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case they need it.
- Know that you or they can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a local shelter, or, in an emergency, the police.
Tips to help yourself:
- The first step toward exiting an abusive relationship involves simply recognizing the abuse and understanding the abuse is never the victim’s fault. Realizing this is the key to getting out of an abusive situation.
- Documenting abuse is incredibly important, especially if you’re married or have children—you’ll need that evidence later to ensure that you and your children receive adequate protection.
- Pack an emergency overnight back that contains clothing, toiletries, money, any medication you may be on, and copies of any keys you might need. You may also wish to keep a folder of your legal documentation, such as your birth certificate and social security card. Include anything else you think you might need while away from home. Hide this bag somewhere it will not be found by the abuser, or, even better, keep it at a trusted friend’s or neighbor’s home, or at your workplace.
- Set money aside. This is especially important if you don’t have much work experience, or if your abuser controls your finances. Abusive relationships inevitably end, and you don’t want to be left with nothing when you’re heading out the door in the middle of the night.
- Alert friends and family. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you need your support structure now more than ever.7