Any act that threatens the well-being and welfare of an individual can be termed as violence. Domestic violence can most easily be defined as the situation wherein one partner gains power and control over the other by instilling fear in the other partner and forcing compliance and subservience.
On an average, a woman stays in an abusive relationship for 2.6 years before leaving. That is not, however, how things must be. Always remember that no one deserves to be abused, no matter what the circumstances may be.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, talk to your family and friends – anyone you think can be trusted enough to help you out.
Call a domestic violence hotline in case you are in immediate danger or even if you need help in any situation of domestic violence.
Protect yourself against your abuser today by following these steps:
Develop a safety plan
It is always helpful to have an emergency safety plan whenever a crisis arrives. It is important for you to develop a safety plan that keeps both you and your children safe.
Scout your house and develop a safety plan that helps you vacate the house immediately and safely, as soon as any violence begins. Plan this very meticulously, keeping in mind the finer details of the escape like the location of the keys to the house, an extra set of clothes and some money.
You may also want to develop a secret code with your children, friends, family or neighbours in case you need immediate help but are unable to leave the premises. Teach your children some way to contact the police at an instant’s notice.
Develop your support system
Talking to other people about your problems can be a big help. Try to choose someone you trust, someone you think will be supportive as well as helpful, to confide in.
Some people already have a sense of what is going on and would already be ready to help out. All you have to do is open up and reach out in order to receive help.
Remember that your abuser wishes to isolate you, so as to weaken you. When you have isolated yourself, your abuser is in a powerful position to dominate and abuse you. The more you talk to people and confide in them, the lesser power your abuser has over you.
Seek community help – Join a support group
Joining a support group can be a big help to you in your situation, as you continue making decisions regarding taking steps to end the abuse. Interacting with people going through the same problems as you helps you feel like a part of a group. Empathising with other, as well as building close relationships with people who are in the same boat as you gives you support and motivation.
You may seek help through your local church, police department or by calling up domestic violence hotlines.
Call an abuse hotline
When you call an abuse hotline, you do not need to divulge any information that you may not want to reveal or are uncomfortable revealing. People on the other side of the hotline are there to support you and help you in your time of need. Their job is to support and empower you, as well as to provide you with any information you might need in order to help you escape or better your situation. They can discuss abuse with you, give you information regarding resources and options available to you and also help you map out a plan.
If at any point during a call you feel uncomfortable, you can immediately hang up. The hotline number to call (within PNG only) is: 715-08000
Educating yourself on your options is probably the best tool in your arsenal to defend yourself against your abuser.
Educate yourself about the different legal options that have been framed to protect the victim from the abuser.
Reading books and magazines on abuse might also help you experience validation and relief when you realize that you are not the only person in this situation and that there were others just like you, and they escaped – so can you. Books and magazines may also help you realize that abusive behavior has a pattern and you may be able to recognize these patterns in your abuser’s behavior, thus helping you predict when you have to get out.