Am I in an abusive relationship?
The signs of domestic violence can be hard to spot.
Domestic violence wears many hats, including physical, verbal, emotional (psychological), financial, and spiritual abuse (to name a few). It starts small and will escalate over time. People who are abusive are often master manipulators, so the indicators of abuse can be confusing. Some of the most abusive behaviors are subtle and won’t leave any physical marks at all. Domestic violence is all about power and control, leaving the survivor feeling unsafe, unheard, and unequal in the relationship. Domestic violence changes people over time, including the way the survivor thinks about themselves and their relationship. Behavior that we before would deem unacceptable will suddenly feel tolerable under the new rules of an abusive relationship. By the time the abuse becomes physically violent, survivors usually feel so confused, isolated, and disheartened that it can feel difficult to reach out for help. The advocates on our Helpline are here to do just that: HELP. And listen. And believe you, at any stage in the game (we’ve heard it all.) If you want to talk through what’s happening in your relationship with a confidential and nonjudgmental ear, our Helpline is the place to call.
How can I support someone who is in an abusive relationship?
Keep reaching out and don’t give up.
If you’re reading this section, then you’re already on the right track. Every person’s story is different and what helps one survivor may not be useful to another – with one exception, and that is having the support of loving family and friends. (If we had to choose one resource that best predicts recovery during and post domestic violence or sexual assault, this would be it.) We know that people who abuse frequently attempt to isolate their partners from their support networks. When they succeed, survivors are cut off from the resources they need to help them escape the abusive relationship. Many survivors will appear to distance themselves from their friends and family by their own choice, but we understand that they are often forced towards this choice to preserve their own safety (and yours). When family and friends refuse to be chased away by this abusive manipulation – when you keep reaching out and don’t give up on the survivor – this is the best gift you can give your loved one who is suffering from abuse. Do everything you can to get educated about domestic violence or sexual assault. Tap into the abundant internet resources out there. Call our Helpline and learn about local resources. And remember the most important thing: stay in touch. When your loved one reaches out to you for help, you’ll be ready.
What can I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?
You are not alone, and there are resources to help you find your way through.
While the internet is rich in resources to help you cope and recover from a sexual assault, here’s a quick list of steps to help get you started. (Remember you can always call our Helpline for advice or support!)
Are you safe? Call 911 if you need help right now.
Reach out for support. Call a friend, a parent, or any trusted loved-one. Connecting with another person will help you feel less alone.
Consider your medical options. Call the KRMC Emergency Room if you have questions about a rape exam… or just go to the ER and get support. (If you are wearing the same clothes that you wore when you were assaulted, remember to bring an extra change of clothes with you! They will take your current clothing for evidence.) If it has been more than 1 week since your assault and you are suffering medical symptoms, call your doctor.
Consider your legal options. Call our legal advocate to explore what your choices are.
Process your experience. Reconnect to yourself and your life. Consider our mental health services, or reach out to another community resource for counseling. There is light on the other side of this wall.