(Steps That Could Save Your Life)
ARE YOU BEING ABUSED?: Does the person you love… Threaten to hurt you or your children? Say its your fault if he or she hits you, then promises it won’t happen again (but it does)? Put you down in public or keep you from contacting family or friends? Throw you down, push, hit, choke, kick, or slap you? Force you to have sex when you don’t want to?
YOU HAVE CHOICES: Just one “yes” answer means you’re involved in an abusive relationship. No one deserves to be abused. Making a decision to leave an abusive relationship can be very difficult. It may take time for you to feel ready. Call a local women’s shelter (see below); someone there can help with a safety plan. You do not have to give anyone your name. If you’re in an abusive relationship, but are too fearful to leave, at least prepare what experts call A SAFETY PLAN – a course of action to take when danger strikes. If you’re trying to aid someone who’s being physically or emotionally battered, you can help her take these vital steps.
CALL 911: If you’re in immediate danger
MEMORIZE: Va Beach shelter # (Samaritan House) 757-430-2120.
National Hotline 1-800-799-7233
ESCAPE ROUTE: Know where in your home offers best protection and escape route from your attacker (the bedroom with a door that locks and a window with access to a fire escape, for example) and try to get there when you feel an episode is escalating. Don’t get trapped in kitchen or bathroom.
TEACH CHILDREN: not to intervene during a fight, how to get to safety, how to call 911
Seek medical treatment for your injuries and have the abuse documented by the medical staff.
Tell a neighbor about his violent behavior. Ask your neighbors to phone the police if they suspect you’re being attacked.
SURVIVAL KIT: Pack a bag in advance: and leave it at a friend’s or neighbor’s house. Include:
…Birth certificates for you and your children.
…Health insurance cards and medicine.
…A deed or lease to your house or apartment.
…Cash, a check book and extra checks, credit cards.
…Your social security number or green card /work permit,
…Passports, court papers, medical and school records.
…Some clothes for you and your children.
…Take a favorite toy or plaything.
HIDE EXTRA HOUSE & CAR KEYS: outside of your house in case you have to leave quickly. Have several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
Remind yourself that you are not to blame for your attackers actions. If all else fails and you cannot escape, pretend to faint. It may stop the attack.
FAMILY VIOLENCE AFFECTS US ALL: Millions of women are physically, sexually, or emotionally abused every year by someone they know and love – their husband or partner. Any woman may be abused. It happens to women of all ages, races, religions, all income and educational levels, and all sexual orientations. Abuse is never acceptable. Women don’t “ask for it” and its not caused by alcohol, drugs, financial pressure, depression or jealousy. Abuse can begin – or get worse- when you’re pregnant.
FEDERAL LAW: In 1994 the government enacted a federal law, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, that provides measures for preventing violence against women. This law, while important for initiating action against those who break the law, serves an even greater role in signaling to those in distress that they need not suffer in silence.