As many as four million people in this country suffer some kind of violence at the hands of their spouses or significant others each year. Very few will tell anyone -- a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or the police.
Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear and shame.
Are you in an abusive relationship? If you find yourself answering "YES" to any of the questions below, it's time to get help.
Does the person you love…
- "Track" all of your time?
- Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
- Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Criticize you for little things?
- Anger easily when drinking or using other drugs?
- Control all finances and force you to account in detail for what you spend?
- Humiliate you in front of others?
- Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
- Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or the children?
- Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
- Threaten to hurt you or the children?
- Force you to have sex against your will?
Don't ignore the problem...
- Talk to someone. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call the Concord Police Department at (925) 671-3232 or call the STAND 24-hour crisis line to talk to a counselor 1-888-215-5555.
- Plan ahead and know what you will do if you are attacked again. If you decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money. Put important papers together (marriage license, birth certificates, checkbooks) in a place where you can get them quickly.
- Safety first -- use the crisis line counselors to get the support and resources you need, and to help you plan how to leave and where to go.
If you are hurt, what can you do?
- Call 911. Domestic violence is a crime. Officers will be dispatched immediately to your location. The officers can arrest the batterer, help you get medical attention, help you and your children to find shelter, provide you with information on how to obtain a restraining order and put you in contact with a shelter that helps battered individuals such as STAND.
- Call the STAND 24-hour crisis line.
- If you believe that you and your children are in danger, leave immediately. Leave or have someone come to stay with you.
Have you hurt someone in your family?
- Accept the fact that your violent behavior will destroy your family. Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt someone. Take responsibility for your actions and get help.
- When you feel tension building, walk away. Work off the angry energy through a walk, a project, a sport.
- Call a domestic violence hotline such as STAND or health center and ask about counseling and support groups for people who batter.
The high costs of domestic violence
- People who use violence to solve conflicts are teaching the same destructive behavior to their children.
- Jobs can be lost or careers stalled because of injuries, arrests, or harassment.
- Violence may even result in death.
- Anxiety and depression are often side effects that a victim of domestic violence -- or children who witness a parent being battered -- experience; get help by calling the STAND crisis line or one of our local counseling centers that specialize in family violence (see "Resources" below).
- STAND Against Domestic Violence: 1-888-215-5555
- Community Violence Solutions (for sexual assault, abuse): 1-800-670-7273
- Family Stress Counseling Center: 1-925-827-0212
- New Directions Counseling Center: 1-925-798-7500
- New Connections (alcohol and drug treatment): 1-925-363-5000
- Bay Area Legal Aid: 1-800-551-5554