What To Do If You’re Facing Domestic Violence
This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp
Domestic violence is a serious offense and is never acceptable. If you are facing domestic violence, here are the steps that you should take to ensure your safety and that justice is carried out.
First, this article will define domestic violence and then provide the measures that should be followed in the case of domestic violence.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence generally refers to violence carried out in the home. It can happen anywhere, however, when it occurs between two people who are in some form of relationship.
While we generally think of domestic violence as limited to physical violence, that is only one possibility. In many cases, abusers will use multiple methods to suppress their partner and exert control over the partnership. There’s physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and economic abuse. There is also digital violence as a possibility nowadays.
It’s essential to be able to recognize domestic violence so that you can help either yourself or others who may be experiencing it. Unfortunately, domestic abuse is largely underreported due to social stigma, denial, and fear of more violence.
Domestic abuse may be caused by a variety of reasons, although none of them are ever legitimate excuses. Possibilities can include alcohol or substance use disorder, feelings of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and discrimination based on gender or other factors.
It’s essential to stop domestic violence as it can have far-ranging effects on the abused and those who witness the abuse (such as children). Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are among the common mental health issues experienced by people who face domestic violence.
Before we consider the steps to take following domestic abuse, you may also wish to consider the resources on domestic abuse offered by BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/domestic-violence/
Steps to Take Following Domestic Abuse
Don’t Take Responsibility
The most important thing is to understand that you are not in any way responsible for the violence. It doesn’t matter if you made a mistake, forgot to do something, or did anything else to upset your partner. Domestic violence is never acceptable, and it is never the victim’s fault.
Keeping the abuse to yourself will weigh on you terribly and it will also keep you from getting help. Even if you just talk to a trusted friend, family member, or religious leader, it is vital to speak about the violence with someone you can trust.
Document the Abuse
If there is any evidence of your abuse, this can be a big help in bringing the perpetrator to justice. If you have audio or video recordings, or photographic evidence of the abuse, you should carefully save this and consider bringing it to law enforcement.
Call a Helpline
Calling a domestic violence hotline can be an immense help. You won’t feel so alone with your abuse, and you can also receive helpful guidance on what you should do next. These helplines are generally free and are designed to help people in your situation. Find the one most relevant to you by typing in “domestic violence hotline” plus your area (e.g. “domestic violence hotline Ghana”).
Leave the Relationship
Finally, you should work on leaving the relationship. This may be easier said than done, but it is essential that you get away from the abuser and to somewhere safe. Consider trusted family and friends who you can stay with or, if your means allow for it, a hotel. Anywhere is better than being where your abuser can hurt you again.
Domestic violence affects women far more than men, and it is one of the largest problems facing women today. Understanding domestic violence, knowing how to recognize the signs, and being knowledgeable about the steps to take to get help will help keep you and other victims of domestic violence safe, which is by far the most important thing.