Seven steps to follow if you're experiencing domestic violence, by Dr. Tina B. Tessina, a licensed psychotherapist and author of How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free.
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1. Realize its not going to get better.
If your partner flies into rage, verbally or sexually abuses or batters you or your children, no matter what he or she may say, it isnt your fault, and you have no control over his or her behavior. Even the abuser has very little control. It is not just a one-time incident, it is an indication of a severely disturbed character, and it will not go away without years of intense therapy.
2. Protect yourself and your children.
The best way to do this is to tell the truth to family, friends, your minister, your doctor, your therapist, your co-workers, one of the hotlines listed below, the police and anyone else who will listen. There is no need for you to be ashamed, but there is an urgent need for you to get help. If it seems that no one is listening, consider that you might not be telling the whole truthbattered spouses have a tendency to downplay and make excuses for the abuse. The best protection for you and your children is for your abusers behavior to become public knowledge. The vast majority of abusers are cowards, who only prey on dependent, defenseless people. They like to believe they are in control, and they arent as likely to lose control before witnesses.
3. Once you have been physically abused, do not be alone with the abuser again.
This is another reason to tell everyone you know. You either need a place to go, or someone (perhaps several people)
to stay with you until you are safe. You may also need financial help.
4. If you are hit, call the police (911).
They respond much better now than they used to, and the law is now on your side. When they come, press charges. Do not make excuses to yourself or anyone else. If your abuser gets away with it even once, he or she will get more abusive. Do not listen to pleas for sympathy, understanding or forgiveness. You can forgive the abuser after he or she has gotten help, and only after you and your children are safe.
5. If injured, get medical help.
Tell the doctors and nurses the truth about how it happened.
6. File a restraining order.
Volunteers at the police department will help you fill it out. With a restraining order, you can call the police as soon as the abuser gets close to you or your home. Without one, the police need evidence of the abuse to arrest anyone.
7. Attend Al-Anon meetings.
You will learn a lot of good information that will help you avoid being someone else's victim.
For information: http://www.al-anon.org/