“Always ask the questions you want to, life is too short to know if you’ll get a second chance to ask.” -- Kaitlin Hollon

Common Questions.

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HCV / Section 8

Why don’t victims leave at the first sign of abuse?

There are many reasons a victim of domestic violence may stay in the relationship for some time. The abuser may have threatened to hurt the victim, the children, pets or themselves if the victim leaves. Domestic violence victims often feel like the abuse is their problem and their fault, and that they are responsible for fixing the relationship. They may not realize they’re being abused if the abuse isn’t physical (and even if it is). They may be embarrassed or ashamed by what has happened to them. They may feel that they can’t break their wedding vows or they might feel restricted by community or religious expectations. The victim may still love the abuser; they just want the abuse to stop. (And the abuser may promise it’ll never happen again.) They may have limited financial resources and/or social supports to assist them with the expense and the logistics of starting over. They may be reluctant to create upheaval in their children’s lives. Victims may be afraid that the abuser will fight for sole custody of their children. Often, victims’ fears are based on direct threats made by the abuser. And victims might be afraid to leave because abuse can get much worse after a victim leaves, when the abuser realizes they are losing control. Abusers often stalk their victims post-separation. Many domestic homicides take place during or after a victim has left the relationship. -- opdv

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim.
Domestic violence is also called domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, or dating violence. It may include sexual assault. People most often people think of domestic violence as physical abuse, but that’s only part of the picture. Many victims are never physically or sexually assaulted but are controlled and terrorized by their partners’ use of non-physical tactics such as: verbal, emotional/psychological abuse; coercion and threats; isolation; minimizing, denying, blaming; using children; intimidation; and economic abuse. -- opdv

Is there any way to tell that someone will be abusive in their relationship?

Abusers don’t announce their behavior at the start of a relationship; things would never progress beyond the first date! But there are some common traits shared by many abusers. They may be charming, jealous, controlling, and manipulative and they may blame others for their problems. They may rush into a relationship (“sweep you off your feet” or proclaim “love at first sight”) and insist that you spend all your time with them. These are “red flags,” but there are often no signs at all. -- opdv

What are the statistics?

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 7 men in the U.S. have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
  • Among victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, approximately 6 out of 10 women and 1 in 6 men reported being concerned for their safety because of the violence in that relationship.
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking at some point in their lives in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes.
-- opdv

What do I do if someone I know is being abused?

Let the person know you’re there for them. Believe what they tell you, without blame or judgment. Ask them how you can help, being sure to keep your own safety in mind. Give them the phone number of the local domestic violence programs see our resources page

What if I know the abuser?

It is important to consider your own safety any time you are dealing with an abuser. One option is to call the police. Another is to talk to the abuser about your concerns. Make sure they know the consequences for being abusive, including being arrested, losing their partner and family, losing support from friends, losing their job or having their guns taken away.

What can someone do to help with the overall problem of domestic violence?

There are many ways someone can help make a difference. Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn about domestic violence and share your knowledge with others.
  • Speak up about it – make sure everyone knows domestic violence will not be tolerated. For example, when you hear someone making a joke about domestic violence, tell them it’s not funny.
  • Identify resources and service providers in your community. Make that information widely available to all members of the community.
  • If you are an employer, create and implement a domestic violence and the workplace policy. Similar to the policies you may already have, like time and attendance and health and safety, this policy helps guide your response if and when domestic violence impacts your workplace .
  • Model respectful behavior and healthy relationships. Men can show by example that being strong does not mean being violent. Confront gender stereotypes.
  • Don’t support businesses, products, services or organizations that promote violence or abusive behavior.
  • Understand the power of language. Seek to eradicate the following from your conversations and don’t tolerate it in media reports about domestic violence: victim-blaming, making excuses for abusers’ behaviors, and sensationalizing domestic violence.
  • Support your local domestic violence program. Individuals and businesses can make charitable contributions. Businesses, faith organizations and civic groups can offer space for meetings. If you have a unique service to offer, see if you can fulfill a need of your local domestic violence program or victims in your community.
Above all, Don’t Do Nothing!