Dating/Domestic Violence

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WARNING! - For emergencies, dial 9-1-1

If you are a victim of violence and are in fear for your life, contact your local authorities and ask for assistance.

domestic abuseWhat is Dating/Domestic Violence?

Dating violence is an act by one individual against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

Domestic violence is an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the same family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or a threat that places the family member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

Dating or domestic violence may come in the following forms:

  • Actual physical abuse
  • Threats of physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Threatening telephone calls
  • Disturbances at your place of employment
  • Stalking
  • And, any other action that makes you fear for your life or well being 

In the event of domestic violence, what should you do?

First and foremost, it is important for you to get away from the aggressor.  You should seek the assistance of a friend or a neighbor.  In the event of domestic violence, immediate police assistance should be requested.  Police officers have received special training with respect to domestic violence and can be extremely helpful to you.

As a victim of domestic violence, you should never try to "go at it alone".  The usual profile of an abusive person is an aggressive, dominant personality that is both manipulative and controlling.  The victim of domestic violence is often very vulnerable and can be persuaded from attempting to obtain assistance.  Outside assistance is often essential in protecting you from domestic violence.

As a victim of domestice violence, you should never shy away from requesting assistance because of a perceived stigma attached to being a victim.  Whatever your background, if you have been abused, get assistance immediately for your own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of those around you.  The Tarrant County Victim Services unit can provide information and detail.  You can reach them at (817)884-2740.

Remember these important facts:

Domestic Violence

  • Every 15 seconds in the United States a woman is beaten
  • Within the last year, 7% of American women who are married or living with someone as a couple were physically abused, and 37% were verbally or emotionally abused by their spouses or partner
  • The U.S. Department of Justive estimates that 95% of assaults on spouses or ex-spouses are committed by men against women
  • Domestic violence is repetitive in nature:  about 1 in 5 women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been a victim of a series of at least three assaults in the last six months
  • 84% of all Texans report that they believe they can personally do something about domestic violence
  • Abuse happens in all classes and races and occurs at every level of income and education

Injuries and fatalities of domestic violence

  • One study showed that 30% of women presenting with injuries in an emergency department were identified as having injuries caused by battering
  • The level of injury resulting from domestic violence is severe: of 218 women presenting at a metropolitan emergency department with injuries due to domestic violence, 28% required admission to a hospital, 13% required major medical treatment, and 40% had previously required medical care for abuse
  • 42% of murdered women are killed by their intimate male partners
  • Close to half of all incidents of domestic violence against women were not reported to police
  • 57% of women who were physically abused by their partners did not discuss these incidents with anyone

Dating Violence

Dating Violence

  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner
  • 70% of teenage women and college women, who are sexually assaulted, are raped during the course of a date
  • 15% of teenage girls and boys report being victims of severe dating violence (defined as being hit, kicked, thrown down, or attacked with a weapon)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls, who have been in a relationship, report that her boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm when presented with a breakup
  • 26% of teenage girls in a relationship report enduring repeated verbal abuse

Dating violence may first emerge as occasional outbursts that both victims and perpetrators interpret as expressions of passion or attempts to improve their relationship.  Many victims are humiliated, critized, and threatened by dating partners.  In some relationships, dating violence may never escalate beyond emotional and verbal abuse.  In other relationships, physical and sexual abuse become components of the violence.

Often, teenage victims of dating violence keep their abuse secret. Explanations for secretiveness include:

  • Failure to understand they are victims
  • Embarrassment, shame, confusion
  • Threats from the abuser
  • Fear the abuser will take revenge if they say anything
  • Concern their parents will prevent the teen from seeing the abuser
  • Concern they will lose privileges - like use of a car or freedom to go out as they please

Recognizing the warning signs of dating violence

Is the boyfriend/girlfriend:

  • Jealous and possessive?
  • Controlling and bossy?
  • Quick tempered, with a history of fighting?
  • Violent toward him/her or other people?

Does the dating partner:

  • Give orders and make all decisions?
  • Check up on the partner?
  • Refuse to allow normal contact with family and friends?
  • Try to humiliate him/her?
  • Call the teen names and insult him/her?
  • Accuse the teen of having no sense of humor?
  • Accuse the teen of being provocative?
  • Force him/her to have sex?
  • Use alcohol or drugs, and pressure him/her to do the same?

Has the dating partner:

  • Attempted or threatened to commit suicide if he/she leaves the relationship or doesn't do what he/she wants?
  • Harrased or threatened him/her or former dating partner?
  • Refused to accept the relationship isn't working or that it is over?

Answering "Yes" to any of these questions could mean the teenage is in danger.  Please call the following for assistance:

Safe Haven 24-Hour Hotline:  1-877-701-SAFE (7233)

National Domestic Violence Hotline :  1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Survival Strategy:

Once a violent act takes place in a relationship, the violence almost always reoccurs.  In fact, it tends to get more severe and more frequent as time goes on.  This happens even when the man apologizes and promises to change after a violent incident.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you think ahead about what to do in the case of another attack.

Before an attack:

Make contacts.  Come to the police department and request a copy of the Handbook for Domestic Violence Victims and contact the Tarrant County Victims Assistance Unit at (817)927-2737 for information and details on what to do the next time your husband or partner becomes violent.

Have quick access to a phone, cash, clothing, and important items such as: car title and keys, birth certificates, apartment lease, marriage license, Public Aid I.D. and medical cards, records of your spouse or partner's income, a list of phone numbers to call for shelter or transportation, credit cards, blank checks, and bank book.  If possible, keep an emergency kit with keys, cash, and essential papers together in an old purse or other small container so that you can easily and quickly grab it and leave.

During an attack:

  • Defend and protect yourself.
  • Call for help.  Scream loudly and continuously.  You have nothing to be ashamed of - THEY do
  • Get away.  Escape if you can.  Go to a relative or friend's house or a domestic violence shelter
  • Call the police.  Dial 9-1-1 or (817)743-4522.  We will attempt to protect you from further abuse.  We are required to provide or arrange transportation to a hospital or safe place for you, and are encouraged to arrest your abuser if we have enough evidence of a crime.  We must give you a paper explaining your rights and telling you of one social service agency which can help.  There is increasing evidence that calling the police will make your abuser less likely to hit you again in the future.  There is also evidence that being arrested makes an abuser far less likely to repeat his violent behavior toward you.  While not always successful, involving us can help make you safer.

After an attack:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.  Tell the doctor or nurse what happened and ask them to take pictures of your injuries.  Find out how to get copies of your records in case you need them later.
  • Make a police report even if you do not want your abuser arrested.  The report will become evidence of past abuse which might prove helpful in the future.  The abuser will not be notified that you made a report.  If possible, the report should be done within 24 hours of the abuse.
  • Save evidence.  We will tell you how to preserve evidence in case you want to take legal action.  Evidence includes copies of medical records and police reports, dated photographs of your injuries or of the house in disarray, torn clothing, any weapons used, and statements from anyone who heard or saw the attack.
  • Talk to someone about the choices you have. 
  • Remember, most abusers become more violent over time.  Beatings tend to become more severe and more frequent.  Even though you may not be afraid, take action NOW!  Your safety and the safety of your children may depend upon your willingness to act.  It is more dangerous to do nothing than to some action.

 REMEMBER:

You are not alone

The violence is not your fault