Domestic violence is not something new. In the Middle Ages, women were traditionally viewed as objects because they were “physically and mentally weak”, and must therefore be protected by men. As mere possessions, men could be violent towards their women, either by enslaving, killing or selling them especially after an infidelity. While these practices have been outlawed today, there are still remnants of the violent psychopathy of our ancestors. About 33% of Americans are or were once victims of abuse. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some steps to prevent domestic violence and different options you can take to protect yourself:
Step #1 – Assess the situation
Are you a victim of domestic violence? There are many forms of abuse and most of them do not leave physical scars. Emotional abuse, for example, can be subtle and easily overlooked as harsh criticism. And most physical violence (like slapping and pinching) are nonfatal with scars that fade over time. Its therefore easy for victims to dismiss instances of abuse as one-time thing. Nonetheless, listen to your gut. Talk to friends and family about your experiences. Other people can put them in perspective. You can also call a hotline.The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge its existence.
Step #2 – Safety first
Once you admit the truth, your first concern should always be your safety. Your goal is to get out of the relationship, and the first step is to leave your home. Charles Perkins, an attorney with Mansouri Law Offices advises, “While you can do this alone, its better to have outside support. You can also ask family and friends for help or seek refuge in shelters. Plan carefully how to remove yourself from your situation without exposing you to further risks. Even consider calling a lawyer.” If you are unable to do so because your abuser is preventing you, lock yourself in a room and call 911. Wait for the police to arrive and escort you out.
Step #3 – Change your habits
It’s important to sever all ties with your abuser. When you have left the relationship, change your routine so that he or she will not have the opportunity to stalk you. Relocate if possible, to give your abuser time to get over you. Change your contact number and give it only to those you trust. Leaving will be difficult, but this will be for your own good in the long run.
The steps outlined above may sound simple, but each one can take time. Coupled with the uncertainty of the future, many victims end up staying with their abusers. Remember, this is not your fault, and you do not deserve to be treated horribly. You are not the problem, and he or she will not change just because you stayed. You deserve a life, leave so that you can live.