Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship

Plus, signs that someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence.

The statistics are staggering.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

Estimates are anywhere between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence each year and 30% to 60% of these children will be abused themselves.

Let that soak in. You may be experiencing this now or you probably know someone who has. We can’t ignore Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What is domestic violence?

A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of actions. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

If you are being abused, remember:

  • You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated.
  • You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.
  • You deserve to be treated with respect.
  • You deserve a safe and happy life.
  • Your children deserve a safe and happy life.
  • People are waiting to help.

How To Get Help; Make a Plan to Escape

911: If you are in immediate danger

CareKY: Find help by your ZIP code; includes shelters

Kentucky Domestic Abuse Support

National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE (7233)
800-787-3224 (TTY)
Advocates are also available to chat 24/7.

GE Appliances EAP

Other ways to get out:

How to Help a Victim of Domestic Violence

  • If you or someone you care about is in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Learn the warning signs – People cover up signs of abuse for many reasons so watch for:
Black eyes
Busted lips
Red or purple marks on the neck
Sprained wrists
Bruises on the arms
Low self-esteem
Overly apologetic or meek
Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
Anxious or on edge
Substance abuse
Symptoms of depression
Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities and hobbies
Talking about suicide  
Becoming withdrawn or distant
Canceling appointments or meetings at the last minute
Being late often
Excessive privacy concerning their personal life
Isolating themselves from friends and family  
  • Start a conversation – Let them know you’re worried about them and listen without judgement. It may take a few times before they are ready to share. 
  • Make time for them – Reach out when things are calm and set aside plenty of time in case the victim decides to open up
  • Believe domestic violence victims and validate their feelings – Respond to them by saying, “I believe you. You don’t deserve this. This is not your fault.”
  • Offer support and help form a safety plan – Connect your loved one to resources like those mentioned above.
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