Domestic violence is one of the most frequently occurring crimes in the US, yet is often the most underreported. Victims very often suffer in silence, feeling a sense of undeserved shame or blame for what is being done to them.
Fear, intimidation, threats, physical or sexual force, coercion, and emotional manipulation may be used to keep a victim in an abusive relationship. Leaving is made more difficult when the victim has been systematically isolated from friends, family, or other systems of support.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, help is available. Our Center offers services to assist you and your children in seeking safety and building a new, independent life safe from abuse.
All services for victims are free of charge and completely confidential.
Domestic violence can include:
Physical Abuse - Anything that hurts your body, causes discomfort or threatens your health; such as hitting, kicking, shoving, biting, burning, restraining, strangulation, withholding medications or medical treatment
Verbal Abuse - Name-calling, put-downs, constant criticism, threats
Emotional Abuse - Intense jealousy, isolation from friends and family, threatening to take away children or turning children against you, destroying sentimental items, intimidation and coercion, threatening suicide, minimizing and denying the abuse, blaming you for the abuse
Sexual Abuse - Forcing you to have sex or perform unwanted, humiliating or uncomfortable sexual activity; manipulating birth control; unfaithfulness
Financial Abuse - Controlling all the money in the relationship, spending money only on him/herself, ruining your credit, sabotaging your efforts to get and keep a job
Spiritual Abuse - Keeping you from practicing your religion of choice, forcing you to attend a church or temple you don't want to, using religious doctrine or scripture to justify abuse or keep you in the relationship
In abusive relationships, the violence doesn't necessarily happen all the time. In between episodes of abuse, there can be good times, too, which makes it very difficult for victims to sort out their feelings and decide whether to leave. Typically, domestic violence follows a predictable pattern:
Calm - Things seem normal, without a lot of tension or threats of violence.
Tension - The abuser begins to get agitated, criticizing and being difficult to satisfy, looking for a reason to explode. Tension builds.
Explosion - The abusive episode occurs. The abuser blames the victim for the violence, denies and minimizes the damage.
Honeymoon - Apologies, excuses, promises it will never happen again. Promises to seek counseling or stop drinking, etc. Flowers, gifts, grand gestures to show the abuser has changed.
Back To Calm - If the victim stays, things calm down and the cycle begins again.
Our Mission: To support and serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and family members of homicide victims, educate the community, and work to reduce incidences of violence.
Even if you aren't ready to leave yet, there are some things you can do to help prepare you in the event that you need to get away. Gather the following items and leave them in a place where your abuser cannot find them:
The most dangerous time for domestic violence victims is the 48-hour period after they've left. It is best if you "lie low" for this two-day period and do not go to any places your abuser may expect to find you. Do not agree to go back alone to meet or talk with your partner; if you need to return for your belongings, ask the police to escort you. You may want to alert your friends and family, and possibly your children's teachers or school counselor, if you feel there's a risk your abuser may come looking for you or your children.
Our Center can provide shelter or other services to assist you, including legal assistance such as Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
Crisis Line: 800•800•1396