Your situation does not need to resemble the worst domestic violence movie to be a threat to you and your children. Even if your partner uses power in just one way that makes you feel uncomfortable, controlled or without choices, it is time for things to change. If symptoms are severe, it may be time to make a safety plan. It is hard to decide if you need to leave. When you do decide to leave, you will need a safety plan. The first 72 hours after a partner leaves an abusive relationship are the most dangerous. A little planning can keep you safe. Talking with those you trust is essential now and during your safety plan. You are not alone. You have choices. You deserve to be safe.
Eight characteristics of an abusive relationship:
· Using coercion and threats.
o Example: threatening to leave or hurt her/him, making her/him drop charges.
· Using intimidation.
o Example: Using looks, actions or gestures that promote fear, destroying her/his property.
· Using emotional abuse.
o Example: Putting her/him down, call names, using guilt or mind games.
· Using isolation.
o Example: controlling what she/he does, sees, talks to, or reads.
· Minimizing, denying and blaming.
o Example: Making light of abuse, blaming her/him.
· Using children.
o Example: Using visitation to harass her/him, threaten to take the children.
· Using male privilege.
o Example: Treating her/him like a servant, acting like the “master of the house.”
· Using economic abuse.
o Example: Preventing her/him from keeping or getting a job, taking her/his money, not letting her/him know about family income.
A safety plan will include assessing your risk, involving people you trust, having a place to go, and ways to increase your independence. There are more than 27 domestic violence resource organizations in New Mexico. There is help. There is hope. Please reach out to your medical provider, Labor of Love (505.727.7677), your trusted friends and family, or local resources. The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a place to start. You are worthy of being loved and taking up space in this world. You deserve to feel safe and be happy. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.