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Domestic Violence – More Common

There has been a lot in the press lately about battered, abused women. Pictures ofbruised and beaten Hollywood stars have floated across the TV screen followed by horrifying accounts of the abuse they have suffered. Sadly, domestic violence is certainly not a new or uncommon phenomenon. Approximately 25 percent of all women in the U.S. will be abused by a partner at some point in their lifetime.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is an intentional controlling behavior against an intimate partner. The behavior may involve sexual assault, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial control, or isolation. It affects women of all ages, races, educational and economic backgrounds. It is not more or less common in heterosexual versus homosexual relationships. It is the most common cause of injury to women in the U.S. Domestic violence often starts in pregnancy or increases during pregnancy.
Exit plan if you are a victim
It is often very difficult to leave an abusive relationship. The first step to leaving is personal empowerment. You must realize this is not your fault and you must seek out resources for outside support. An exit plan is vital to have in place. This is a plan that allows you to leave when you choose. The important parts of an exit plan are as follows:
  • Have a change of clothes packed for yourself and your children. Include toiletries, medications, and extra sets of house and car keys. Store this with a trusted friend or neighbor.
  • Store cash, a checkbook, and all bank account information with a trusted friend or neighbor.
  • Have identification papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, voter registration card, utility bill, and driver’s license readily available and easy to reach.  Also keep easily available financial papers such as mortgage papers, rent receipts, or automobile title. These will be helpful to enroll children in schools etc.
  • Take something special to each child.
  • Have a plan of exactly where to go day and night – a friend’s house, a relative’s home, a shelter, etc.
Getting out
There is no reason that anyone should endure abuse of any kind from another person. If you feel you are being abused, tell your health care provider, tell your friend, tell your minister or spiritual leader, tell someone that can help you. Seek the resources you need and then get out.
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