When I was a little girl my mother told me a horrifying story of how she was abused by her first husband. He was an alcoholic and would use all their money for booze. As a result there was very little food in the house to eat. She showed me a picture of herself then and she weighed well under a hundred pounds. She describes herself as a walking skeleton. My mother, at the time, had three small children, my half-siblings. She would save any food there was for the children. My mother hid cereal in a back cupboard for the children to eat. Her husband found out about this secret hiding place and became enraged. His response was to take my mother by her hair and lead her to the stove. He ignited one of the gas burners and set my mother's hair on fire. My little hands balled up with rage that someone would do this to my mother. I vowed silently that I would never ever allow anyone to harm me like that. Yet despite my vow it did happen. I was emotionally abused for years. It was my first serious relationship. The emotional abuse escalated when my boyfriend became addicted to drugs. Near the end of our relationship it was becoming physical and this is when I broke free. I was lucky to get away. Some individuals are not so lucky. My mother ended up in a mental hospital and lost custody of her three children due to what I believe was stressed induced mental illness. Her mind and body could not take the abuse anymore and she snapped.
Unfortunately my mother's story and my own are not uncommon. In 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) reported that 23.6 percent of women and 11.5 percent of men are the victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives.
These numbers most likely only scratch the surface because many individuals who are abused by their partner never report it. I want to point out that domestic abuse can happen to anybody. It doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, male, female, young, old, in a heterosexual relationship or have a partner of the same sex. Anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can be emotional (verbal degradation, threats, jealous rages), physical (hitting, kicking, shoving, slapping, throwing objects, or use of weapons to harm), and/or sexual (forcing the individual to comply with unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual practices). If you feel that you are currently in an abusive relationship we want you to get the help and support that you need.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month we are going to give you some resources for anyone who finds themselves in an abusive situation. You are not alone in this. There is help and there is support.
Please note that Health Central is not responsible for the functionality or usefulness of any external links to resources provided. It is up to you to judge whether or not any particular organization is helpful for your unique set of circumstances.
Help Line Numbers for Victims of Domestic Abuse
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE or 800-799-7233
- Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men and Women 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)
- Domestic Violence Hotline Numbers by State
- For those in the UK: Women's Aid 0808 2000 247
- For those in Canada: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-363-9010.
- For those in Australia: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1800 200 526.
Resources for Women who are in Abusive Relationships
- National Battered Women Associations
- Violence Against Women Online Resources
Heart 2 Heart: Support Network and Self-Help Data Base for Abused Women
Resources for Men who are in Abusive Relationships
- The Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men and Women 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)
- For those men in the UK: ManKind Initiative National helpline: 01823 334244
- Battered Men: The hidden side of domestic violence (MenWeb)
- Resource List for Abused Men
- Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (A book by Philip W. Cook)
- Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE)
Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered Victims of Domestic Violence
- Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project 24-hour hotline: 1.800.832.1901
Health Central Articles and Resources about Domestic Abuse