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Domestic Violence Facts: What every woman should know...Could this be me?

Domestic violence symbol

Use Us to Help You.
Can you answer YES to any of these questions?

Have you ever been shoved, slapped, punched, kicked or hit?

Have you ever believed these words: "I'll never do it again?"

Have you ever been called names and put down until you felt worthless?

Do you believe that you deserve to be beaten?

Are you ashamed that you stay in an abusive relationship?

Are you isolated or alone with children, with no one to call
when you need help?

Does someone's threats of violence control your decisions
and influence your behavior?

Are you afraid you can't make it on your own?

It doesn't have to be this way.
You did NOT cause the violence but you CAN put an end to it.

To find out more about being safe for you and your children:

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

Could This Be Me?

"Why would anyone smart stay in a relationship with someone so cruel?"

Domestic violence can take many forms: including emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. The abuser uses power and maintains control over his/her victim in many harmful ways. Rarely is only one form of abuse used. Many feel helpless to change.

"It could never happen to me."

Domestic violence touches women and men of any race, culture, religion, age, sexual orientation or economic class, young or old, rich or poor. There is no group that escapes from this crime.

"What if someone found out? How embarrassing!"

Ninety-five percent of the survivors of violence are women; the majority of their abusers are the men that they have had a relationship with (now or in the past). Many want to defend their partner and save face, always at their own expense.

"I must have deserved what I had coming to me."

These are sometimes called "hidden crimes" because the actual number of occurrences per year are never reported by the victims or really known, but about 2.5 million women are survivors of violence in the US every year. Many feel they are to blame.

"It only happened once. He promised it wouldn't happen again."

Once violence enters a relationship, the abuse increases - it occurs more often and with greater force. While there is a pattern of abuse that includes a period of calm, increasing anger and then, violence followed by calm again, it never just disappears. Many feel alone in this.

"As long as I keep this quiet, no one else will get hurt."

Violence affects the whole family. More than 3 million children watch parental violence every year. Children who witness violence show emotional and behavior problems such as low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and angry actions towards friends, family or property. Children very often become the targets of a parent's abusive spouse or partner and get injured too. Children learn what they live and are likely to repeat the pattern of violence as adults.

"What's the big deal? So he got a little angry. Doesn't everybody?"

This is serious. Violence doesn't just hurt. It kills. Every three weeks, a woman is killed by domestic violence. Six out of every 10 women are murdered by a spouse or someone that they have been intimate with. Excusing violence out of anger can cost someone a life.

"How could I leave? There's nowhere to go. He'd come find me."

Women are more likely to need medical care, take time off from their jobs, spend more time at home in bed, have more stress and depression . Many women respond to violence by having suicidal thoughts or trying to kill themselves, low self-worth, alcohol or drug abuse. Many feel powerless to find a safe place to go and afraid of retaliation.

It doesn't have to be this way.

You did NOT cause the violence but you CAN put an end to it.

Find a safe space to survive.

You ARE worth it!

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

By Washington State Department of Social and Human Services, DSHS 22-78700 (X)

Rev. 12/90

Compiled by
Aileen MacLaren, CNM, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Nurse Midwifery Program
Family and Child Nursing
School of Nursing
University of Washington


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