OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to a pattern of violent and coercive behavior used by one adult in an intimate relationship over another to maintain power and control. It is not marital conflict, mutual abuse, a lover’s quarrel, or a private family matter.
Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.
Many of the controlling techniques used by abusers are identified in the spokes of the Power and Control wheel below.
Red Flags of Abuse
Some warning signs of potential abusers are:
• Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.
• Initially seems very attentive and “too good to be true.”
• Does not honor your boundaries.
• Wants you all to him- or herself; insists you stop seeing family and friends.
• Is excessively jealous and accuses you of being unfaithful.
• Wants to know where you are all of the time and may frequently call, email, or text you.
• Criticizes or puts you down; says you are crazy, stupid, or fat, or no one else would ever want or love you.
• Takes no responsibility for his or her behavior.
• Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on former partner.
• Acts out of control with you but can maintain composure around others.
• Takes your money.
• Does not treat you as an equal.
Abuse is never the fault of the person being abuse.
Emotional Abuse can be more destructive than you may have realized.
Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Emotional abuse can eradicate your self-esteem and independence.
Emotional abuse includes yelling, name-calling, blaming, may give you the silent treatment, shame you or use any other actions or behavior that makes you feel less than others. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior make emotional abuse more intensified.
Cycle of Abuse
The cycle of abuse is a pattern of some predictability regarding an abusive relationship.
The Honeymoon stage:
Like most relationships it may start out being respectful, loving and making you feel heard and valued.
The Walking on egg shells stage:
Here tension is building in the relationship. At this time because the victim as been told so many times “if they would do this or that the way they were told to do something, things would be fine.” The truth is it has nothing to do with what the victim may have done or not. It’s about the abuser’s behavior.
The Blow Up Stage:
The abuser reacts aggressively or with violent behavior.
Back to Honeymoon stage or calm after the storm:
Controller may attempt to apologize but never completely takes responsibility for what happened. Partner may give another chance but eventually the cycle will likely reoccur. Here the controller usually makes promises to do this or not do that anymore which may be short lived.
It’s important to remember abuse usually escalates.
Effects of abuse on victims
• May not make eye contact
• May be hypervigilant
• May have bruises; burn marks; hair missing; considers or attempts suicide; depressed; over or under medicated
• Seems afraid or anxious to please their partner
• Talks about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
• May have very low self-esteem, even if they use to be confident
• Show major personality changes (from outgoing to withdrawn)
• May have many digestive problems
• May be experiencing nightmares or sleep disturbances
• Have difficulty concentrating
• Will often blame their own behavior, rather than the violent actions of the abuser
• May feel fearful; doubt their own sanity, lonely, and hopeless
• May miss appointments and procrastinate to the point of becoming patterns of self destruction.
Some possible symptoms in children who witness or experience abuse
• Sleeplessness, fear of going to sleep, nightmares, dreams of danger
• Headaches, stomachaches
• Substance abuse
Many of these symptoms can be transitory once the children are safe and away from the abuser and are receiving healthy support through counseling.
Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship
Lets you be yourself
Lets you be together as a couple, but without losing your sense of self
Brings out the positive qualities of yourself
Invites growth in each other
Encourages each other’s self sufficiency
Appreciates what the other person does for them
Respects the need, when and if it arises, to end the relationship
Does not attempt to change or control the other person
Allows you to say how you feel at the time you feel it
Lets you express feelings without fear of your partner’s reaction
Welcomes closeness and will risk being vulnerable
Affirms qualities of each other
Accepts limitations of each other
Feels the freedom to express needs
Your lives outside the relationship make your relationship stronger. Other meaningful relationships and interests exist for each partner
You each take responsibility for your own behaviors and happiness
You can trust each other
Both people recognize that ANY violence is unacceptable
If you think you are in a controlling relationship?
If you are in a controlling relationship, remember, its not your responsibility to figure out why the abuser abuses. Its self-defeating to think you can help a person stop their abusive behavior by the way you do or say something. Its about them and their power and control issues, not you.
How to help someone in a controlling relationship?
Some people get frustrated because there can be a long time lag between when someone gets useful information, support and resources and the time the survivors decide to act on it. There is more to helping someone than thinking they have to do what you want them to do immediately or at all. Leaving a domestic violence relationship is a dangerous process and can be lethal.
It’s up to you to decide what you feel you can help a survivor with or not. It’s just as important for you be safe. Your role is to help not rescue them.
3) Don’t judge.
4) Tell them it’s not their fault. That no one deserves to be treated like that.
5) Remind them that they are not alone.
6) Do not degrade her abuser. It may take time for a survivor to learn to trust a person and feel safe.
7) Refer to Women and Children’s Horizons advocacy and shelter services. (262-652-9900)
8) Respect the victim’s pace and choices.
9) Make a safety plan.
10) Share what you feel you can offer. A car ride? Bus money? Encouragement?
SUPPORT GROUP FOR WOMEN IN CONTROLLING RELATIONSHIPS
RESTRAINING ORDER ASSISTANCE
RESTRAINING ORDER ASSISTANCE IS STILL AVAILABLE DURING THE "SAFER AT HOME" ORDER.
Restraining order assistance is still available. If you need to file for a restraining order, go to the courthouse to get the necessary paperwork. You will also receive information on how to contact the Restraining Order Advocate from Women and Children's Horizons. Marcy can assist by phone in filling out the paperwork page by page and let you know what to expect once the paperwork is filed.
WHAT IS A RESTRAINING ORDER?
This is an order of protection issued by the Circuit Court to require a responding party not to have contact with you and expects them to refrain from committing acts against you that are physically abusive, harassing and intimidating.
You may be eligible to file a Restraining Order in Kenosha if either party lives in Kenosha County or the incident occurred in Kenosha County.
If it is an emergency, dial 911 for police assistance. If you have a question, call 262-653-2767 or our 24 hour crisis line at 262-652-9900.
TYPES of RESTRAINING ORDERS
Domestic Abuse, Harassment, Child Abuse and Individual at Risk
FILING A RESTRAINING ORDER
If you have any questions on how to complete or file a restraining order please contact us. Advocates are available to answer your questions by phone. Restraining order assistance is also available in the lower level of the Kenosha County Courthouse (LL36). Call 262-653-2767 for information. If there is no answer, please leave a message and someone will return your call.
The courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please leave yourself two hours to complete and file the paperwork and to allow the commissioner/judge time to review your petition before the end of the day.
Bring the following with you in order to complete and file the restraining order paperwork at the courthouse:
- Valid picture ID
- Address and date of birth (or approximate age) of the person who will be served
- Timeline of events related to abusive behavior
- Police reports, medical records, photographs
- Any court papers you have in your possession. For example, custody and/or parenting orders, lease agreement, divorce papers, or information on criminal record.
CARRY A COPY OF YOUR RESTRAINING ORDER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES!!
This will help law enforcement execute the Restraining Order if there is a violation
• Tell the police every time the stalker makes contact with you.
• Keep a book with you at all times to record the contacts. Document times if they allow the phone to ring repeatedly or continuously regardless of whether or not a conversation occurred.
• Save phone messages, text messages or e-mails.
Print any social media postings, i.e. facebook messages
• Save any letters, notes, or gifts from the stalker
• Write down personal information about the stalker, physical attributes, kind of car they drive, and license plate number.
STALKING IS A CRIME
If you feel intimidated or threatened, go to a room or area that has access to an exit.
- Keep a charged phone with you to call 911, family, friends or neighbor if necessary. WCH provides emergency phones for 911 use.
- Develope a plan on how to leave your home safely.
- Keep a bag that contains important documents, medications, etc.in a safe place. This may be in your home, car,or at a family/friend’s house.
- Use a safe word or phrase with your children alerting them to call the police or to leave the home. This should be practiced with children.
You will need the following forms of identification and information for you and your children.
- Birth certificates, driver’s license, Social Security card, work permit, green card, passport, divorce or custody papers, insurance papers, medical records, lease, rental agreement, and/or house deed
- Money, bank books, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, and mortgage payment book
- Keys for the house, car, or office
- Medications, glasses, hearing aids, or other devices needed for you, your children, or grandchildren.
SAFETY WITH ELECTRONICS
- Change passwords on phone / computer and financial accounts.
- Lock phone/computer.
- Turn off GPS phone tracking – call provider if you need more information.
- Block partner on social media sites – i.e. facebook, twitter, instagram.
- Keep all electronic communications (i.e. text/facebook messages).
- Print or screen shot messages.
Kenosha Police & Sheriff's Department Emergency ------------- 911
Kenosha Police Department Non-Emergency ---------------------- 262-656-1234
Kenosha Sheriff's Department--------------------------------------------- 262-605-5100
Kenosha Human Development Services (Crisis Intervention) 262-657-7188
Women and Children's Horizons Support Service---------------- 262- 656-3500
24 Hour Crisis Line ----------------------------------1-800-853-3503 or 262-652-9900
Women and Children’s Horizons advocates are available to help you and your family. Contact the Support Services Office at 262-656-3500, Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for further information or for an appointment. You can also call our crisis line 24 hours a day at 262-652-9900 or 1-800-853-3503. Services are free and confidential. Services are offered for non-English speaking clients.
Click here to read 2014-2020 Long Range Plan for a Safe Wisconsin
Click here to read the 2017 Domestic Violence Homicide Report
Click here to visit End Abuse Wisconsin website
Family Violence Project