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Domestic Violence-The Hidden Crime
As many as four million women in this country suffer some kind of violence
at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends each year.
Very few will tell anyone-a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or the police.
Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all
income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings of
helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame.
Are You Abused? Does the Person You Love...
* "Keep track" all of your time?
If you find yourself saying yes to any of these-it's time to get help.
* Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
* Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
* Prevent you from working or attending school?
* Criticize you for little things?
* Anger easily when drinking or using other drugs?
* Control all finances and force you to account in detail for what you
* Humiliate you in front of others?
* Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
* Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or the children?
* Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
* Threaten to hurt you or the children?
* Force you to have sex against your will?
Don't Ignore the Problem
* Talk to someone. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy.
Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family
problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic violence
hotline to talk to a counselor.
If You Are Hurt, What Can You Do?
* Plan ahead and know what you will do if you're attacked again. If you
decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money. Put
important papers-marriage license, birth certificates, checkbooks-in a
place where you can get them quickly.
* Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and set goals
There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect
* Call the police or sheriff. Assault, even by family members, is a
crime. The police often have information about shelters and other
agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
Have You Hurt Someone in Your Family?
* Leave, or have someone come and stay with you. Go to a battered
women's shelter-call a crisis hotline in your community or a health
center to locate a shelter. If you believe that you, and your
children, are in danger-leave immediately.
* Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency room.
Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in
case you decide to take legal action.
* Contact your family court for information about a civil protection
order that does not involve criminal charges or penalties.
* Accept the fact that your violent behavior will destroy your family.
Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt someone.
The High Costs of Domestic Violence
* Take responsibility for your actions and get help.
* When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry energy
through a walk, a project, a sport.
* Call a domestic violence hotline or health center and ask about
counseling and support groups for people who batter.
* Men and women who follow their parents' example and use violence to
solve conflicts are teaching the same destructive behavior to their
For More Information
* Jobs can be lost or careers stalled because of injuries, arrests, or
* Violence may even result in death.
Domestic Violence Hotline
This new, nationwide toll-free hotline will provide immediate crisis
intervention, counseling and referrals to emergency shelters and services.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Family Violence Prevention Fund
383 Rhode Island Street, Suite 304
San Francisco, CA 94103-5133
Source: National Crime Prevention Council