9 things to do in case of domestic violence.
Every history of domestic violence is different from all the others,as are the different types and forms of abusers and different victims.
They may be more psychological, more physical but it’s always about violence that makes life impossible for the victim.
Only the woman who suffers violence who has her own story and knows all the details knows and can decide whether these 9 simple tips are applicable to her story or not.
In any case, the advice I am about to list cannot and must replace the valuable work of the anti-violence centers and/or law enforcement and can not alone “save your life” with absolute certainty but are things that you can and must apply.
These are only easy-to-adoptable behaviors that can help a woman who is experiencing a domestic violence situation to find strategies to protect herself.
These 9 recommendations are more likely to apply in cases of mild (physical) violence and/or in those cases where domestic violence incidents have just begun and/or follow each other with long breaks between them.
What can you do if you suddenly find a violent partner or if you start to recognize and fully understand that what you are experiencing, maybe for a long time, is putting you in danger?.
What to do if you do not have the opportunity or the will to leave the house where the violent man also lives?.
Definition of domestic violence
“one or more acts, serious or non-episodic, of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence occurring within the family or household or between persons related, currently or in the past, by a marriage bond or affective relationship, regardless of whether the perpetrator of such acts or has shared the same residence with the victim.”
The 9 tips:
Knowing and acknowledging the cycle of violence
Normally, incidents of violence follow each other according to a “circle” pattern.
Initially the tension rises and the nervousness increases.
It is necessary to learn to understand what are the signals that tell us that tension is accumulating.
Again, every woman “knows” the man who lives next to her.
In some cases, the rising tension is recognized because the quarrels increase in number or intensity, but in other cases, it could also be the opposite: instead of frequent verbal clashes, the abuser may have attitudes of exclusion (he does not address his partner, he tends to often leave the house without saying where he goes, turns away the partner, etc…).
There’s no one-way but you don’t have to underestimate gestures and behaviors.
Sometimes, it happens that the nervousness manifests itself by breaking objects, for example, or kicking furniture or doors or other. When the tension reaches its climax, the actual violence takes place.
We need to become good at keep in mind and to pay attention to the type of violence that is unleashed at the highest point of the circle: if the violent gesture always remains the same or if instead changes and varies in intensity (for example, if you go from a shov, to a slap, then to a punch, then to the hands to the neck…).
The time that separates incidents of violence is also important.
Violence can remain very distant as time, but if the frequency increases and/or becomes more serious, it is very important to be aware of it, so that we can choose to act immediately accordingly.
After the violence, he usually “apologizes”, cries and promises that he will not do it again and/or makes some gifts to his partner, showing himself sweet and caring (c.d. phase of the “honeymoon”).
The “honeymoon” is almost always an illusion, soon the tension begins to build up again and recovers from again.
Never threaten, no threats!
The man who acts violently, does it because he wants to establish control over the woman,he wants to be sure that he is the master of your life.
Therefore, avoid phrases such as: “If you do it again, I’ll leave you“, or ” be careful what you do that I denounceyou!“.
Do it but without saying it!
If you decide to leave, leave your partner or file a complaint, you just do it, without communicating it or threatening it in advance, because the threat of reaction usually increases violence: the man feels that it is she who wants to have control, who wants to “make him do as she wants” and this inactivation him even more.
The same applies to any “traces” such as messages on your phone that you talked about with someone, sites visited to find information, booklets and information leaflets concerning active services in the territory for cases of domestic violence, names of lawyers, “suspicious” phone numbers, etc.
Memorize the phone number of the nearest anti-violence center.
Talking to a trusted person
It is never very easy to tell a person what is going on: shame, fear, distrust are often faithful companions of violence.
However, it is very important that at least one person is aware of what is happening.
The ideal is a neighbor/neighbor, to whom you can ask to call the Law Enforcement Forces without delay, in case you hear shouts or noises or violent quarrels.
It is also useful to agree with a neighbor or friend, or a relative to find a way to ask for help, without such a request being obvious, identifying a phrase “neutral” but to which the victim and the accomplice give the meaning of a request for help.
If, after hearing loud noises and/or screams, a neighbor knocks on the door to ask if everything is okay, it would be important to adopt a kind of “secret code” that she is able to understand, that does not arouse suspicion in the abuser.
For example, the informed neighbor (or relative) who knocks and asks, “All right?“, an answer might be: “Yes, thank you, I just dropped a vase/a pot etc. and I got scared.“
It’s important that you and she already have a script made about what to ask and what to answer to understand each other without saying things or making gestures that can make you suspicious.
If you choose to talk to a person who does not live near us and who, therefore, cannot hear quarrels or high voices, but who, perhaps she calls, precisely out of concern or because she has been asked to call often to keep the situation checked, the “code phrase” can be, for example, “I’m fine, thank you, I think I was just about to have a coffee/tea” or something like that.
Beware of rooms
If you start an argument that stirs or that you think will degenerate, it is important to try to avoid:
- escape to the bathroom (you risk being locked inside, trapped),
- try to get out or enter the kitchen (room full of “weapons”, such as knives, scissors and other blunt objects) Precaution: if you cook you always hide the sharp knife and those always on sight take them to take off and take the tip off a roast, when you cook you use yours that every time you hide well.
- and not to approach windows and/or balconies (a boost can be fatal).
Always head to the front/exit door, the only effective escape route.
Get two or three anti-aggression sprays to keep in more places that you don’t see as tricks in the bathroom, cleaning cabinet, etc.
In extreme cases you have to have a tool that has to give you time to escape (be careful to learn how to handle it and how to use it in a closed place!).
The keys to the house
You should never allow the abuser to close or lock the front door.
Useful, for this purpose is to always keep with you the keys of the house.
It could be that you have the habit of leaving the key always in the same place: tucked into the lock, for example, or hanging from a special hook, or inside a drawer, etc.
In order not to arouse suspicion, removing the key from the “usual place” to always keep it in your pocket or hanging from a chain, better to make a duplicate ( WITHOUT sayingit) to always keep with you, thus leaving the key in the same place, so that no one has suspicion.
Even more than one key.
Even if you do not have an income,it is advisable to start accumulating little by little, a small amount of money.
Beware that you always have to do it only without him noticing.
Money is a very useful resource in case of emergencies.
Ask someone you trust if you can leave a small suitcase at their house which will contain photocopies of documents (including children’s), a couple of changes (including those for children) and anything else that is deemed useful, in case you need to hurry away from home, in order to don’t need to come back to recover as much as you need.
You also can’t keep a homemade suitcase because it’s a signal you want to run away.
Report domestic violence to law enforcement and/or medical reports
It is important that you always report violent gestures to the Carabinieri or the Police .
Even if you choose not to file a complaint as well as get certified by the emergency room or go to your doctor by making him then make a certificate every time you suffer an assault, even if you leave no physical signs.
This creates a “register” that ensures that doctors and FFOO have an “eye of respect” in case you ask for help, already knowing the situation and not risk underestimating the danger.
These eight tips are only general indications, “tricks” that every woman victim of violence can and should use to protect themselves, and these are simple and feasible actions but do not replace the professional help of the operators of an anti-violence center, such as the intervention of the Law Enforcement Forces.
Never underestimate domestic violence even if “it’s the first time.”
There are only 9 small tips that you can use and that you can also recommend to a friend who is in difficulty for a situation of violence with the partner but that I repeat alone are not enough to save your life and do not solve the problem of violence.
Start applying them one at a time.
It is very difficult to get out of a condition of domestic violence alone, asking for help is the first fundamental step to solve the problem, you are the first actress in her path out of violence and these simple tips are really within reach of all.
Don’t stay in violence!