Not physically, emotionally, spiritually, or sexually.
Not by strangers, family members, aquaintances, co-workers, employers, or an intimate partner.

Are you in denial about being in an abusive relationship?

He doesn't hit me, so I am not being abused...
All couples fight....
He'll treat me better when I deserve it...
He only acts like this when he's high or drunk and he promised to quit.

Definitions of Abuse:

**Sexual abuse: The improper use of another person for sexual purposes, generally without their consent or under physical or psychological pressure.

**Physical abuse: Where one person inflicts physical violence or pain on another.

**Verbal abuse: When a person uses profanity, demeaning talk, or threatening statements.

**Emotional abuse or psychological abuse: coercion, humiliation, intimidation, relational aggression, parental alienation or covert incest: Where one person uses emotional or psychological coercion to compel another to do something they do not want, or is not in their best interests; or when one person manipulates another's emotional or psychological state for their own ends, or commits psychological aggression using ostensibly non-violent methods to inflict mental or emotional violence or pain on another.

**Child abuse: Abuse, usually physical, emotional or sexual, directed at a child.

**Spousal abuse (or domestic violence): Abuse, usually physical, or psychological abuse, directed at one's spouse.

When you live with an abuser, you become psychologically trapped within your own life. The first thing an abuser manages to accomplish is the reprogramming of your mind. This is where your control is perceived lost and theirs gained. You have become convinced that you are the source of the problem, and that you are such a miserable failure that, you cannot survive without the abuser.

Once psychological control is gained, it is usually maintained through isolation, violence, or threats of violence.

(IMPORTANT) You do not have to be physically hurt to have been abused.
Emotional abuse is often disregarded by those who have not experienced it, but for those who have, it is often described as worse than a physical assault. I would have to agree whole-heartedly with that.

There are two main reasons for this:
1. Emotional abuse leaves no physical scars to validate the abuse occurring.
2. Physical damage heals over time. Emotional scarring continues on inside the mind and spirit of the abused. Remember the nursery rhyme, Sticks and Stones? Words do hurt, and the pain can last a very long time, even after the abuse has stopped.

Whether you leave or stay, you MUST get help (couseling) for your peace of mind, and for your children. As children grow up in an abusive environment, the cycle of abuse is perpetuated. They learn to cope with life through abusive behaviors.

Domestic Violence Statistics: Proof that you are not alone...

Females are more likely than males to be vitims of non-fatal abuse by their intimate partners (boyfriends or spouses). On average, 22% of intmate partner violence is committed against females age 12 and older. Intimate partners account for 30% of homicides against females.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
TDD 1-800-787-3224

Domestic Violence Statistics & Resources
Family Violence Prevention Fund

Office for Victims of Crime
U.S. Department of Justice

Hotlines and Resources
Feminist Majority Foundation
Help, Treatment, Intervention and Prevention

Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook

Online Domestic Violence Agencies
Listings by state

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Support Network for Battered Women

Domestic Abuse Prevention
Providing "A Pathway for New Beginnings"Domestic Abuse Prevention Association is a business designed to prevent domestic abuse.

Domestic Abuse Women's Network DAWN

Kimberly Chapman
An abuse survivor speaks out and provides helpful resources. ... Domestic Abuse. YOUR ABUSER MAY BE ABLE TO TRACK YOUR ONLINE ACTIVITIES. ...

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

Make a plan...
Contact people whom you can trust to help you. You will need help, because keeping yourself safe is vital, and there is much to do.

Contact your social service office, or battered women's shelter, to make arrangements for a place to live, if you cannot stay with a friend or other family members. Make sure you can trust those you seek help from. Don't ask help from your abuser's family and friends unless you know, without a doubt, that they will not tell him of your plans.

Apply for assistance for food, shelter and medical care, if you have no income of your own, or if your income will not cover all of your living expenses. They can also help you find legal resources if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

DO NOT USE THE TELEPHONE IN YOUR HOME TO MAKE THESE CALLS. Make them from a payphone or a friend's home. The last thing you need is to have your plan discovered by your abuser before you can put it into action.

If you are employed, it is wise to let your employer know what is going on, so that if you need time off for moving, going to appointments, or to court, they can be more flexible and understanding of your situation. As unpleasant as it may be, it is important. Make an appointment to speak with your human resources contact if you don't feel comfortable speaking to your supervisor. It is important that your employer knows not to give any information about you to your abuser. If you have children in school, contact the school guidance office too. Let them know what is happening, so they can better accomodate your child, and so that they are aware that you do not want your child leaving school with anyone other than those on your SAFE CONTACT list. The same goes for daycare providers.

Once you are set up to live elsewhere, plan your move. Make sure that your abuser will not be around when you go. Have as many people as possible help you with the physical act of leaving so that it can go as quickly as possible. (I waited for my husband to go to work, and at a predetermined time, my help came and we got moved in a couple of hours.) Have your helpers bring the boxes to pack with.

Make sure that your new telephone number is unlisted too. If you can, rent a post office box to have your mail sent to, and use it when doing your change of address.

The key to success is to follow through on your plan. Be true to yourself and stay safe.

If you are determined to stay, you still need a plan. You need a plan to keep safe. Find a safe place you can go to if your abuser is on the attack. Have a bag packed that you can get to quickly. After you get to a place of safety, call the police. DO ask for a TRO (temporary restraining order). Make sure that the TRO includes your place of employment, schools, and any other place that he may try to make contact with you. DO go to court to make the TRO permanent. You will find that the more proactive you become, the more help will be offered you.

My second divorce got pushed through the court system in less than 60 days, because of the history of abuse that had been documented by the police, and the past TRO that had been in place. Normally, it would've taken twice as long. If you've filed for divorce, write to the judge handling the case, and explain your situation. You may be surprised at the result. You don't have to have a lot of money to get legal representation. There are legal resources available for free, you just have to find them. Some lawyers will take on a domestic case pro-bono.

This may sound like a lot of work, but this is your life we're talking about here. Don't feel overwhelmed by it all, YOU CAN DO THIS!

*** I am a 62 yr old great grandmother. I have tried so many times to leave my Jekyll/hyde husband of 42 yrs. I finally made it out 41 days ago with the help of my wonderful youngest daughter and her husband. I have cried an ocean of tears but I will NEVER go back! Thank you for this site and for sharing your courage with those of us coming behind you.

My Journey
A Lifetime of Verse
by Trina L.C. Sonnenberg

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Copyright © 2007
Trina L.C. Sonnenberg
All Right Reserved World Wide