All Individuals have the right to a life free of abuse!
Domestic Violence is not about a single fight, it is a pattern of coercive behavior and abuse used by one partner to gain control over the other. Behaviors may include:
- Physical violence or abuse (or the threat of physical abuse)
- Control of household money, not allowing partner to work, denying access to information about finances
- Denying access to medical or mental healthcare or medication
- Forced sexual activity
- Psychological abuse
- Stalking or monitoring daily activities
- Harming or threatening to harm their children
Domestic Violence is against the law. Every individual has the right to live without physical, sexual, verbal, mental or emotional abuse. Unfortunately, Domestic Violence is prevalent and can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, race, religion or income level. But it is never the victim’s fault.
The warning signs of domestic violence include jealousy, name-calling, possessiveness, and the abuser making you feel that you are the one causing their behavior. You may feel:
- Confused that someone you love (or once loved) is hurting you
- Ashamed or guilty or wonder if anyone will believe you
- Worried about calling the police or telling your family, friends, or co-workers
- Hopeless that things will ever change
- Unworthy of a life without your abuser
Please know that you are not alone! If you find yourself wondering if your relationship is abusive or have questions about your rights and your safety, talk to a trusted adult or call Harmony House.
What to expect when you call Harmony House
- A trained advocate that cares and understands the issues you are facing. The advocate will talk with you about your situation, your safety, and your options to determine if you need emergency shelter services or if our outreach support is more appropriate.
- The advocate can also provide information about your rights and answer questions you may have regarding housing, legal issues, medical issues, and children’s services.
- Strict confidentiality
- Safety planning if you are in immediate danger, or are thinking about leaving the abuser.
Concerned about someone you know?
Given the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence, it’s likely that many of us know someone who is directly affected by these issues. If you are concerned that a friend, loved one, family member, neighbor or co-worker has been or is being abused, you can provide support. Survivors say that someone helping them break the silence can be like opening a door. One of the biggest barriers to action is that many of us have been taught that domestic issues are private matters and not our business. The fact is, that domestic violence impacts us all! As with any other public health and human rights concern, we all have a role to play in ending the violence.
If you suspect someone close to you is experiencing some form of sexual or domestic violence, you can:
- Listen without judging and don’t rush to provide a solution. Remember the victim is not responsible for someone else’s abusive or violent behavior.
- Believe them! Let them know you support them and ask what you can do to help.
- Support them. Let them know you care about them and let them know it isn’t their fault. Offer to go with them to talk to someone.
- Help them to make their own decisions and get the resources they need rather than doing it for them.
- Encourage them to contact a local program, such as Harmony House. This is where they can talk to a trained advocate, find safe shelter, and get the resources they need to break the cycle.
- Be part of their safety planning. Whether they are leaving, staying or unsure about their next steps, planning for their safety is key. Click here for a Safety Plan
- Maintain their confidentiality. Do not share this information with anyone else without the specific permission of the victim.
- Understand that healing is a process that is different for each person. Express compassion, nonjudgmental support and acceptance.
Source: Jane Doe Inc.
History is full of stories of intimate partner violence. Although such problems have never gone away despite activism and legislation, there are several programs emerging all over the United States that are designed to prevent, protect, and educate.