According to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of domestic violence worldwide increased last year. The number of calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline is growing. Children are also more at risk of becoming victims in confined spaces. Below are the safety tips on how to protct yourself from domestic abuse.
Causes of domestic violence
Family psychologists identify the following reasons for this phenomenon.
- Violence in the parental family. People who were abused in childhood tend to be prone to it in adulthood.
- The traditional view of the position of women and men in the family. The tougher the attitude that the man is the head of the family, and the woman certainly obeys him, the less maneuver the family has in finding constructive solutions when faced with crisis moments in life.
- Gender stereotypes. For example, some men believe that a woman allegedly enjoys forced courtship. Some men are convinced that the woman has a need to be in the role of the victim and that she does not have the opportunity to break off the relationship with him.
- High level of anxiety. The more anxiety, the more you want to take control of the situation, the higher the aggression due to the fact that it does not work out. This creates a vicious circle, which is especially characteristic in isolation mode when all family members are practically deprived of personal space and leisure.
- Alcohol and other psychoactive substances. Any addictions reduce the ability to show empathy and manage oneself in a state of passion.
- Failure to accept responsibility for the actions taken. The aggressor blames the environment and circumstances for what happened and does not know how to put himself in the place of another person.
None of these factors lead to violence on its own and does not mean that it will necessarily happen. But if the family has several such factors, it needs to take into account the risks and be attentive to any signs of aggression.
How to deal with domestic violence
The fight against domestic violence can be effective if it takes place at all levels: state, social, and family. What should be done?
- Governments and local authorities need to create and provide resources for services that deal with the problem of violence, expand the range of hotline services and begin accepting applications via the Internet.
- Communities and populations will have to realize that violence is not “everyone’s business”. It is necessary to communicate with neighbors, acquaintances, relatives and friends, not to lose sight of them, to provide support, to report suspicious situations.
- It is important for victims of violence to acknowledge and believe that violence against them is by no means their fault. Home should be a safe place. In an emergency, you should find a reliable way to connect with family, friends, or a community group that cares about your safety.
Signs that should alert you
Knowing if you are in a violent situation can be difficult. It’s hard to resist stereotypical notions of romantic love and “right” gender behavior or persuasion to “have a little patience” because then “things will work out”. Violence, especially against children, is often covered up with concern: “This is all for your good.”
What habits and behavior patterns of a loved one might indicate that he is prone to violence? We list the signals of trouble that you should pay attention to:
- restriction of someone else’s freedom (“don’t walk, don’t be friends, don’t talk”);
- bad attitude and episodes of violence that took place in relation to other people;
- the partner does not hear when they say “no” to him;
- the partner blames others for his failures;
- the cycle repeats: a period of accumulation of irritation – an outbreak – a period of rest and reconciliation.
In the pauses between violent episodes, victims hope that things will get better. But periods of calm do not indicate that the aggressor has changed. Therefore, if there are doubts or fears, it is better to ask for help from friends, relatives, specialists.
5 steps to stop violence
British psychotherapist Jerry Hyde, who has worked with convicts of domestic violence for many years, offers an algorithm for managing his emotional state with which you can stop in time and avoid the transition from words and emotions to actions.
Take control of resentment
Pay close attention to your negative thoughts, which at first glance seem innocent. Minor grievances and reasons for irritation “He didn’t close the toothpaste again” or “She didn’t take out the trash again” tend to accumulate and turn a partner into a real enemy. Once your loved one becomes an enemy, you will be ready to attack him/her. It is better not to swallow grievances, but immediately discuss your experiences with your partner and resolve unpleasant situations immediately, in hot pursuit.
Noticing physical signs of anger in time
Violence is a physical act that requires some preparation from the body. Heart palpitations, clenched fists and jaws, a tense face, general excitement – if you feel something like this, then an emotional explosion is possible. Monitor your condition in order to reduce the degree of stress in time.
Be wary of the words you use to refer to your partner
Each of us in childhood learns the prohibition against causing physical pain to people. It is very difficult for us to hit another person, to hurt him or her. It is much easier to beat a villain, a villain, a scoundrel, or a monster. If, silently or in person, you begin to call your partner swear words, you thereby deprive him/her of human dignity (dehumanize). After that, it is much easier to move from words to action and step over the internal prohibition on the use of violence against people.
Understand the inner process that leads to violence
Getting closer to a partner and raising a hand to him/her are actions that are the result of a decision.
Many do not realize that they make the decision to hit on their own, and see the reason for the violence in unfortunate circumstances, outside influence or in provocation from a partner.
Recognition and awareness of the process taking place in you will allow you to notice that you are at the moment ready to take action and that you urgently need to look for a way out of an acute situation.
Agree on a “break”
In advance, in a calm atmosphere, agree with your partner about security measures in the event of a conflict or heated dispute. You can use special stop words, like in combat sports, for example. Provide ways out of a critical situation, not only in the space of the dispute but also in the space of an apartment or house.
Then the moment you feel that you are about to explode, you will have the opportunity to physically distance yourself: go to another room, close, be alone. It is important that your partner is aware of these rules and abides by them too.
Domestic abuse: where to get help
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)