The SPD has put together some helpful tools for understanding Domestic Violence and how to get help for yourself or someone you know.
Types of Abuse
- Physical abuse includes punching, hitting, slapping, kicking, and strangling. It can also include driving recklessly or intimidation.
- Sexual abuse includes rape or other forced sexual acts, withholding sex, or using sex as a weapon.
- Verbal abuse includes accusing and blaming, name calling, threatening to cause harm, yelling/screaming, calling you crazy or stupid.
- Mental/Psychological Abuse includes insults, controlling you, or isolating you. It makes you feel like you are walking on eggshells. It includes demanding passwords, humiliating you, and threatening self-harm.
- Financial Abuse includes withholding money, controlling bank accounts, not allowing you to work, or making it difficult to go to work
Know Your Legal Rights
Assault, including domestic assault, is a crime in Massachusetts. Victims can receive a restraining order at any time, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Victims do not need a lawyer or a police report to obtain a restraining order. A restraining order is a civil order that can provide protection from physical or sexual harm caused by force or threat of harm from an intimate partner, or family or household member. You can obtain an order against:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A gay or lesbian partner
- A household member
- A relative by blood or marriage
- The parent of a minor child
- A person with whom you have a substantial dating relationship
What About My Children?
Whenever there is abuse or violence within a family, everyone is affected. Sometimes the physical scars heal more quickly than the emotional ones. Children can become isolated/withdrawn because they can't talk with friends about family issues. They may learn to become violent as they grow older or become batterers themselves, as domestic violence can be learned behavior.
Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
People stay for many different reasons. Some feel responsible for making the relationship work; they hope and believe that the person will change. Others feel that somehow they caused and/or deserved the abuse; while some feel ashamed and guilty and do not want to admit that they are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship.
There are many reasons why people stay in unhealthy relationships. Children, housing, lack of employment, are only some of the reasons people stay. Your partner can be loving, caring, gentle, apologetic, and persuasive. Some people feel powerless and helpless, having no place to go or lacking financial resources. There a number of places to call for support and/or help for women, men, and children in or near our community.