Early Warning Signs

In battering relationships, the violence escalates both in frequency and severity. These relationships are similar to cancer; the violence must be stopped in the early stages, before it becomes terminal.

The increase of frequency and severity in domestic violence is one of the biggest problems facing a battered woman. Many women say they felt "tested" early in the relationship. When they were hit or slapped the first time, they didn't do anything about it because they believed it wouldn't happen again. Gradually, the slaps become punches and kicks. By the time a woman becomes aware that she is a "battered woman" the violence has often reached the critical stage. Usually, the only alternative at that point is to leave the situation.

Look for these DANGER SIGNALS. Think about yourself and your interaction with your partner:

  • Does your partner try to control your behavior, your phone conversations, your contact with your friends or family? Does he/she refuse to allow you outside the home, even to work? Does he/she try to isolate you in any way?
  • Do you need his/her permission before doing anything, buying food, writing checks? Does he/she dictate what you wear, what you say?
  • Does your partner blame the use of alcohol for being abusive to you?
  • Does your partner "punish" you and tell you that he/she beats you for your own good or to keep you in line?
  • Is your partner insanely jealous? Are you accused of things you never did?
  • Did you or your partner witness or experience physical abuse as a child?
  • Are you afraid, unsure of what will happen when your partner comes home? Are you living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, "walking on eggshells" because you never know what to expect?
  • Are you trying to be perfect to avoid a verbal or physical fight? Do you avoid seeing people and/or going to work because you don't want anyone to know about your injuries?
  • Are you fighting to save a relationship and family, but losing yourself in the process?
  • Are you afraid that if you stay in the situation you may be killed?

If you answered YES to any of these, think very seriously about your relationship. Seek help before it reaches the critical stage.

The domestic violence agency in DeKalb County is SAFE PASSAGE. Call 815/756-5228 in DeKalb or 815/786-6333 in Sandwich.

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