This little acronym is full of the most common issues surrounding domestic violence and abuse. I avoided or over-looked these questions everyday for years. These questions were tough ideas I had to wrap my head around, before I made a move towards freedom and healing.
If you’re not sure if your relationship is abuse, ask yourself these questions. Be honest. If you asked these questions to a friend and they gave the same answers you are giving, how would you advise them?
•Do you feel you are in danger?
•Are you afraid of your partner?
•Does your partner threaten to hurt you, your children or your family?
•Has your situation escalated beyond threats, are you being pushed, shoved or hit?
•Are there any boundaries in your life?
•Do you make your boundaries, or does your partner?
•Can you say “no” to your partner without consequences?
•Do you regularly find yourself compromising, giving in, or being forced to do things you don’t want to do?
•Do you have a say in what happens, or must you always agree, trying to keep the peace?
•Must you share all your passwords and grant access to your phone and/or computer to your partner?
•Are you uncomfortable with the way you are talked to?
•Do you always feel stressed?
•Do you have access to cash, checkbook, and credit cards?
•Do you often second guess yourself and what you are doing?
•When you are out in public with your partner, are you self-conscious about who you talk to, what you say, or what you do?
•Can you freely talk on the phone with a friend, if your partner is close by?
•What would happen if your partner found you with this questionnaire?
•Do you feel safe and protected? •Are you safe?
•Do you feel trapped?
•Have you thought about leaving, but don’t, because of threats from your partner?
•Have you been told if you go, you can’t take the children and/or pets?
•You don’t believe you can leave, because you don’t have access to the car and money. Or you fear what will happen if your partner finds you.
Emergency plan (escape)?
•Do you have a safe place to go in an emergency?
•Does anyone know about your situation?
•Are you aware of domestic violence services in your area?
•Do you know you really are not alone in this, and others will not only believe you, but will help you?
Abuse is not a joke. It is not a mistake. It doesn’t happen by accident. Gifts, apologies, and promising it will never happen again, are part of the abuse cycle.
This is real.
There are ways to bring healing to this relationship, if that can be done, but it is highly unlikely to happen while you stay. You need to be safe first.
Many communities have local agencies and resources, if you don’t have the information for help in your community, you can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline. They provide advocacy services at www.thehotline.org and through 24-hour telephone services at 1-800-799-7233. Their database has resources that are available in over 5,000 communities.
Please be careful, many abusers monitor their victim’s computer and phone use, contacting agencies can show up in places you may not be aware of. It’s best to use a safe sources (public library, work, friend) that an abuser does not have access to.
Make a plan, you need to be safe, I am praying for you.