If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, these agencies can help:
- Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) (external link)
- LifeWire (external link)
- King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCCADV)
- New Beginnings (external link)
- Seattle / King County Domestic Violence Protection Order Site
(Or Visit the Prosecutor's page for Information on Protection Orders)
- Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (external link)
There's No Excuse. Don't wait until you and the ones you love get hurt.
- Are you worried about a family member, friend or co-worker?
- Are you in a close personal relationship that has become frightening?
- Do you feel threatened after a recent breakup with your spouse, partner or boyfriend?
Why get help? The danger is real
If you are controlling or have a controlling partner, don't ignore these behaviors. They are learned behaviors that one person uses to intimidate and manipulate. They are destructive and dangerous. Every year, thousands of women are seriously hurt or killed by their husbands or partners.
If the abuse continues without outside help, the abusing partner may risk being arrested, going to jail, or losing the relationship.
What hurts you, hurts your children
Children get hurt when they see their parents being yelled at, pushed or hit. They may feel scared and ashamed or think they caused the problem. Children grow up learning that it's okay to hurt other people or let other people hurt them. A third of all children who see their mothers beaten develop emotional problems. Boys who see their fathers beat their mothers are ten times more likely to be abusive in their adult intimate relationships.
Everyone has the right to feel safe in a relationship
Domestic violence hurts all family members. When a person is abusive, he or she eventually loses the trust and respect of his or her partner. Abused partners are afraid to communicate their feelings and needs. With help, people who are abusive can learn to be non-violent.
What are the warning signs?
Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Domestic violence is not a disagreement. It is a whole pattern of behaviors used by one partner to establish and maintain power and control over the other. These behaviors can become more frequent and intense over time.
The abusive person is responsible for these behaviors. That person is the only one who can change them.
Does your partner:
- Insult you in public and in private?
- Check up on where you've been and who you've talked to?
- Put down your friends and family?
- Tell you jealousy is a sign of love?
- Blame you for the abuse?
- Limit where you can go and what you can do?
- Try to control your money?
- Destroy your belongings?
- Threaten to hurt you, your family members or pets?
- Make you have sex in ways or at times that are uncomfortable for you?
- Touch you in a way that hurts or frightens you?
- Tell you your fears about the relationship are not important?
If you experience or use any of these behaviors, you could be in danger of getting hurt or hurting the people you love.
How Can I Help Others?
We've learned not to let friends drive drunk. We've learned to help stop crimes. How can you approach a friend in trouble?
If you think a person is being abused
- If an assault is occurring, call 911.
- Take the time to listen and believe what your friend says
- Don't downplay the danger
- Don't judge or criticize your friend's choices
- Give emotional support
- Offer to help with child care or transportation
- Express concern for your friend's safety.
- Let your friend know about agencies that can help
What Can a Victim or Abuser Do?
Seek the support of caring people. They may be your friends, family members, neighbors or staff members of the agencies listed above. Talk to them in a private, safe place.
If your partner is abusive, have a plan to protect yourself and your children in case you need to leave quickly.
If you are abusive, be honest with yourself, think of the consequences, and get help.
Domestic violence occurs among all kinds of people. It cuts across cultural, economic and social boundaries. It can involve:
- The person you've worked with for 10 years
- Your best friend who married her childhood sweetheart
- Your teenage daughter who just met someone new and exciting
- Your next-door neighbor
Together we can prevent domestic violence. Friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors and other caring people can offer help that can save lives. Learn to take action.
Photos by Steven Pisano, Sir Leto, courtesy Creative Commons.