Domestic Violence, Battering, Abuse … there are many words used to describe what one person is willing to do to control their intimate partner. It is a nightmare for many. The fact that someone we love or care about would harm us emotionally or physically is devastating. Please know that you are not alone.
Domestic violence intervention programs exist because battering by an intimate partner is the single greatest cause of injury to women. As you read the rest of this letter and consider each point, please remember you deserve a life free of violence. NO ONE has the right to control, emotionally or physically abuse you!
- Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviors, including violence, that an abuser uses to CONTROL his/her partner.
- Using violence and/or other controlling behaviors is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
- No one causes another person to abuse, no matter how they act. Abuse is always the choice of the abuser. Battering is not mutual and it is not a couple’s quarrel. Disagreements happen occasionally in all relationships, but battering invades every aspect of a relationship with fear and control.
- You are the victim of a crime. Almost any reaction is normal. You are not “sick or crazy”. Crazy-making happens in every abusive relationship when the abuser lies, denies, and/or minimizes the abuse and blames you for the violence. You aren’t going crazy; you are having a normal reaction to a crazy situation.
- Others may react in ways that seem hurtful because they do not understand what you are going through. If you feel uncomfortable with that person, it is OK to look for support elsewhere.
- You are a good person!
- You are a SURVIVOR with strength, courage and skills that have gotten you this far.
- This may be the worst thing that has ever happened to you. At this time in your life, you deserve support, whether it is from friends, family, a therapist or the DVIP shelter.
- Do the things that make you feel safer and better.
- You are not responsible for your partner’s abusive behavior!