Domestic Violence: Victim To Survivor

October 19, 2011

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Part of the very nature of intimate partner violence is that someone in this situation must be careful at all times. Therefore, I need to reiterate that if you are currently in a battering relationship, and your perpetrator has access to the computer that you are reading this on, exercise caution when reading this blog entry. If you need immediate help, call 911. If you need help with resources call 211 or 800.799.SAFE.

If you are currently in a violent or controlling relationship, the only way for you to take charge is to make a decision as to what you want to do with the relationship. Left alone, or with one person making a change in a relationship, these relationships seldom become spontaneously non-violent. There are batterer intervention programs such as one by Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence in Houston, which work to try to reduce battering behaviors. Psychotherapeutic groups and individual counseling directed at the perpetrator must be specific to working on issues related to violence and control. Couples counseling is not recommended due to the imbalance of power in these relationships and the very real possibility that issues discussed in counseling may lead to increased violence outside of the session.

If counseling is not an option, and you decide that it is time to leave, safety becomes your primary concern. Studies have shown that when a woman is leaving a battering relationship, she is often at the highest risk for severe or even deadly violence. Factors such as having a weapon in a home and previous or current threats of homicide or suicide by the perpetrator are two significant factors that must be taken very seriously. It is also important to plan ahead.

Actions that can help include:

  • Having a code word with a friend that indicates you are at risk of great harm
  • Setting aside cash that is easily accessible
  • Having important documents set aside for you and any children in case you need to leave quickly (include identification, Social Security cards, birth certificates, immunization records, insurance cards, etc.)
  • Change of clothes and personal items

Remember 211! In Texas and some other states this number links you to the United Way. From here they can direct you to the nearest women’s center. Women’s centers are a safe place to go immediately upon leaving a battering relationship, especially in high risk situations. They offer safety and access to resources including child care, job training, education, counseling, housing and access to judicial orders. I have included a list of Metro Houston shelters below. In Texas, the Texas Council on Family Violence has a list of centers in Texas. Outside of Texas, call 800.799.SAFE.

In any event, please remember that you’re not alone. There are many women and men who face the same situation as you every day. Please know that there is help for you, and we await your becoming ready to take action.

Intimate Partner Violence Resources

In Harris County:

In Greater Metro Area:

Outside of the metro area:

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