When you are faced with a domestic violence situation, it takes courage to protect yourself and your children, if any. The abuser counts on your fear to keep him or her in power and you, a victim. The following is a list of steps to take and help available to you as a victim of domestic violence:
- Call the police. You don’t have to wait for physical blows from your abuser. If you feel your personal safety is threatened, call 911. Also, ANY cell phone will dial 911, even if the phone is not active for service, you can dial 911 and reach the emergency services. Your police department or local domestic violence shelter will also know where you can get a free cell phone with 911 capabilities. The police can help you and your children get to a safe place, and can also arrest your abuser if they have substantial proof that you have been abused. The report the police make on the situation can help you get a protective order.
- Ask your friends and family for support; even if it’s just someone to spend the night at your home or who offers a place for you to stay. Friends and family don’t want you to be abused, and more often than not, at least one of them has been in a similar situation. Abuse is more common than you think, and it’s often kept hidden.
- Get medical help. If you seek treatment at a hospital, domestic violence advocates may be called for you. They are there to supply you with options that will empower you against the abuse and enable you to get the legal and financial help you need to get away from your abuser.
Other reasons to seek medical treatment …..
- You may not even know you are hurt. What seems like a small injury may actually be serious, especially if you were hit in the head. Serious head injuries are indicated by memory loss, dizziness, eyesight problems, vomiting, and a persistent headache, often on the side opposite of where you were hit.
- If you are pregnant and you were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor. Many abusers hurt unborn children and pregnant women are abused more often than non-pregnant women.
For further information please contact your local domestic violence shelter, or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). This number will lead you to immediate help in your area. Help is available in either English or Spanish and 170 other languages through interpreters.