You have the right to feel safe at home! For some, mandatory stay at home orders can mean separation from support systems and being isolated inside with an abuser for weeks or even months. Victim advocacy experts from Disability Rights Wisconsin have a few tips on recognizing domestic violence and requesting help. Check out this video message from Nadya Rosen, Managing Attorney and Pam Malin, Advocacy Specialist. Together, they encourage anyone experiencing violence during the pandemic to make a plan, know your options, and know that NO one ever has the right to abuse you.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence happens when one person in a relationship uses their power to control the other person. Some controlling behaviors are easier to identify than others. There’s:
VIOLENCE – physical and sexual:
- Actual physical violence or threats of violence
- Just because this is your partner/spouse, you don’t have to agree to do something sexually that you don’t want
- Making you give them all your money
- Putting you on an allowance.
MINIMIZING, DENYING, AND BLAMING:
- When they make you feel like your pain or your feelings are not real. Or when they make fun of you for raising concerns. Or when they blame you for making them treat you poorly. Or when they tell other people that you can’t be believed.
- When they purposely isolate you or control your contacts and communication with family or friends or other supports that isn’t a direct reflection of the ordered COVID-19 isolation safety requirements.
- When they put you down, especially when it is about your disability. Or make you feel bad about yourself. Or calling you names. Or make you feel guilty for asking for what you want or need.
- When they threaten to hurt you or destroy your property, including your pets.
Go here for Project Peer’s Power and Control Wheel.
Make a safety plan.
- A safety plan helps to give you ideas about what to do if things get tough or dangerous. The plan can be anything from being the one to take out the garbage every day just so you have a few minutes alone to scheduling daily walks outside with your children to get fresh air.
- It can also mean having a code word with a friend to get help. If you text your friend the word, they know to immediately call 911 and send them to your house.
Reach out for help.
- There are local and national Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault hotlines that are working. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available by phone, email, or text.
- The National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline is also available.
- You can also text a friend to let them know how you are feeling. Or use Facebook Messenger to contact someone for support.
- Contact a local disability service agency and ask for help. Your abuser may not think disability service providers can help you so they may allow that conversation to happen outside of their hearing.