Signs to look for in your partner:
- Quick involvement with you
- Isolates you from others
- Blames others for their problems
- Gets upset easily
- Controlling behavior
- Explains how you are always wrong
- Speaks disrespectfully of women
- Says hurtful things to you
- Expects you to be perfect
- Threatens you
- Hits, chokes or shoves you
- Cruel to children and/or animals
- Inappropriate sexual requests
If your partner shows any of these signs, you may be in an abusive relationship. If so, you are not alone.
Safety Planning Tips:
- Have the following items ready:
- $50 or more in cash
- A small bag with extra clothing for you and your children
- Any special medication for you or your children
- Any important papers including:
- Bank account numbers
- Check book
- Your social security number
- His social security number, date of birth and work place
- Insurance policies
- Birth certificates for you and your children
- List of important phone numbers (family and friends)
- Sentimental valuables and photos
- Extra keys for house and car
- Think about a place to go if you are attacked or threatened. Avoid rooms with no exits, or rooms with weapons such as the kitchen.
- Think about a “sign” with family, friends and neighbors that you can use when you need their help (i.e. turning on the porch light).
- Have the number for CVAN’s 24-hour hotline (704.788.CVAN (2826) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline, (1.800.799.SAFE (7233) in a hidden place or memorized in case you need to call.
- If possible, have a cell phone available to call 911 or reach other help that you may need.
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. Teach your children to dial 911.
- Each situation is unique, use your instincts.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number and screen your calls.
- If your batterer has a key to where you are staying, change the locks.
- Save all messages and emails and document all injuries or stalking incidents from the batterer.
- Plan ahead how you might get away if suddenly confronted by your batterer.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Notify your children’s school or daycare and your work.
- Vary your daily routine.
- Take important papers and documents with you that may be needed if you need to take legal action.
- Call our 24-hour hotline (704.788.2826), or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1.800.799.SAFE (7233) to find learn about options including shelter.
- Remember that you are not alone and that is not your fault.
Some of the above adapted from: You Can Be Free, Ginny NiCarthy and Sue Davidson.
Safety planning around technology issues
- Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer.
If you are viewing our site and need to quickly get away to an unrelated site, click the Red Escape button in the top right corner and you will be redirected. Please test these features on your computer NOW to ensure that they work. And remember, the escape button will quickly take you to a new page, but the refresh or “go back one page” button will take you back to our site.
- If you are leaving, or making plans to leave, use a public computer (i.e. at a library), or a work computer where the abuser does not have access.
- If you are using a computer that he has access to, you can clear your history, or websites that you have visited. But, remember, it is not possible to completely erase the history of websites that you visit, especially if he is technically savvy. Also note that it could make him suspicious if the history is suddenly blank if that is not routine.
- If you have an e-mail account that is shared or he has access to, be careful of sent and received messages or messages not deleted from “trash.” And, like websites, these cannot be completely deleted.
- Find out what features your cell phone is equipped with. Many cell phones now come standard with GPS (Global positioning satellites) that can be traced, or even software technology designed for tracking activity.
- Abusers use technology to harass and stalk. Remember to save any threatening e-mails, voice messages and text messages.
- Technology is always changing. To learn more about safety and technology issues visit NNEDV.
How to help someone you know who is abused:
If you know someone who is – or might be – battered, your support is important.
So, the question is, how do I support her? What do you do if you think someone you know is abused?
There are many things that you can do to help someone in this difficult, emotional and potentially dangerous situation.
- Learn all you can about domestic violence. Get as much information as you can about the issue and what CVAN provides.
Click on to What’s Domestic Violence, our Resources links and our Services page.
- Listen to her.
- Jumping in to say too much (Your shouldn’t put up with it; if you don’t break up with him then I’m not going to help you) might come from a place of caring or frustration, but will not help her. On the flip side, not saying anything (it’s a private matter; you don’t know what to say) can make her feel like you wouldn’t be interested.
- Let her know you are there for her…and then listen. Simply listen. It’s one of the most powerful things you can do. And when someone begins to open up, you don’t need to have all the answers (or any answer) because battering is complicated and there is no one answer.
- Battering is about her abuser having power and control and making her feel like she’s losing her sense of reality. Help her to hold on to her truth by listening.
- Phrases that are helpful include:
- “What’s it like for you?” - to help her talk about it and help you understand it.
- “It’s not your fault” - a big part of battering is him blaming her for his behavior.
- “It sounds like you are in a tough situation” - this validates how complicated and difficult it is to help her begin to unravel the many threads of the abuse.
- “You’re a strong person” - she may not feel strong but she is. Surviving abuse takes incredible strength.
- Believe her. Validate what she is feeling. And at the same time you can acknowledge that no one deserves to be abused.
- Provide any practical support that you can. From transportation and childcare to financial support.
- Help her to develop a safety plan. Visit our Safety Planning page for tips on how someone can help stay safe while they are in a relationship and after they have left.
- Help her to find community support – when she is ready. If she decides to leave, contact CVAN. Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a woman. It’s important for her to have a plan in place. At CVAN, an Advocate can help her to explore her options.
- Seek support for yourself, too. Being there for someone who is abused is an important role but can also be difficult. You can contact CVAN to talk more about your particular situation and what might be most helpful for you and your friend.
Some of the above adapted from: Family and Friends' Guide to Domestic Violence, Elaine Weiss, Ed.D.