Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, economic class, immigration status, religion, or gender. It can happen to couples that are married, living together, or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
Sadly many women and children all around the world are victims and do not have the support or the resources to end the cycle of abuse.
People who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldn’t just leave an abusive relationship. They don’t understand that leaving can be more complicated than it seems.
Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse is about power and control. When a victim leaves, they are taking control and threatening the abusive partner’s power, which could cause the abusive partner to retaliate in very destructive ways.
There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. Here are just a few of the common ones: Fear, Lack of Money/Resources, Embarrassment or Shame, Low Self-Esteem, Love, Cultural/Religious Reasons, Language Barriers/Immigration Status, Disability, and Fear of being outed just to name a few.
I recognize that without treatment, intervention and proper supports in place, the empowerment and healing process cannot begin. If the cycle of violence is not stopped, the perpetrators will keep perpetrating and the victims will continually be traumatized.
I feel it is our responsibility as friends, teachers, mothers, Fathers, Brothers, sisters as members of society to care for, support and to help each other through this difficult time in their lives.
Remember that a life without violence and abuse is everyone’s right.
HIDING YOUR TRACKS:
When seeking help, always use caution and make sure that you cover your tracks. Here are some ways that you can hide your activity:
Ask a friend to help you research information
Try to hide any information you have written down in a place where your abuser will not find it. (i.e. hide phone numbers inside of an empty lipstick tube or compact)
If you are able, go to a library to use the Internet.
Try not to use your abuser’s computer or phone.
Save up money so you can call from payphone.
Try to do any research when your abuser is not around.
Create an e-mail account that your abuser is not aware of.
Delete any sent messages,
Create a password that your abuser will not know or guess
Try not to use a phone that your partner has access to.
If your phone keeps a contact list of whom you called, be sure to erase your history after your calls.
If a help centre calls you, our number will appear as PRIVATE NAME, PRIVATE NUMBER and cannot be tracked.
If your phone only stores the most recent number dialled, make sure you call another number after your phone for help.
Do not call long distance from a mutual phone as you will be billed and the number will appear.
Call from work, someone else’s phone or a pay phone.
Avoid calling from your cell phone or your partner’s cell phone.
Your Internet search activity is recorded regardless of what browser you use. Search for how to clear your Internet search history (how to ‘delete your
Browsing history, or cookies’) after you have browsed the site of any organization you contact for support.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO LEAVE:
It is not an easy decision to leave your abusive situation. It takes courage and strength to make that choice, but it is essential to your protection and survival that you take the necessary steps to ensure your safety. Be prepared and plan in advance.
Have a suitcase/bag with clothing, important documentation and valuables stored at a neighbour or friend’s house.
Make copies of all-important documentation and keep bills with your information and your abuser’s information on it. (i.e. proof of co-habitation)
Bring the following information with you: bank information, personal identification, immigration, citizenship, passports, birth certificates, SIN cards, proof of marriage, bills with both you and your abuser’s name on it with your current address.
Bring any prescription medications with you.
Put aside money to bring with you.
Ask friends and family you can trust for help.
Plan an emergency route and try to leave when you know that your abuser will not be around.
Devise a safety plan and inform people you trust what your plans are and what to do in case something happens. Keep a list of emergency numbers with you.
If you have children, do not leave them behind.
I have a PRIVATE GROUP on Facebook call (Have a Voice Break Our Silence) if you need to be in a safe group you are welcome.