Don’t wait until it’s too late

The perpetrator is abusing drugs or alcohol, and especially if it is escalating.

There is a threat of taking the children away from you, and proving you an unfit mother.

The family pet is being abused, or there are threats of it happening.

You find yourself being verbally belittled, emotionally abused or ordered around like a servant.

You are ridiculed or humiliated in front of others, perhaps even in public.

There is an awful lot of jealousy going on, especially if accompanied by accusations of infidelity.

You are backed into a corner, being yelled at and not allowed to move or escape.

Your partner is threatening to commit suicide, or to kill you.

You are being called words like “bitch,” “stupid,” “idiot,” “fat” or others we can’t use here.

You are told that if you try to leave you will be hunted down and harmed, or you are told if you leave, nobody else is going to want you. Perhaps you hear, “I’ll see you living on the street if you try to divorce me.”

You are being tracked by the GPS on your cell phone, or the odometer in your car is checked for mileage and you are questioned about where you have been. (Example: It is a 15-mile round trip to the grocery store. You drove a total of 22 miles and return home to hear, “Where the hell did you go?”)

Money is being withheld from you, or doled out in small portions to keep you on a short financial leash. Or you are blamed in the event of low funds or financial distress.

If you have a job, frequent calls or harassment affects your work. Or, perhaps you are one who is not allowed to take a job. You are not given permission from the abuser to find work.

You are blamed for the partner’s abusive actions. YOU drive him to drink, YOU make him mad and that is why he throws things, YOU got hit because you wouldn’t stop talking . . .

There is shoving or pushing, an arm is grabbed and perhaps even twisted, you are hit (anywhere on your body!), grabbed around your neck . . . (By this time it has escalated to a serious level).

You are telling lies about how they got there, wearing long sleeves in the middle of summer or applying pancake makeup to cover bruises from injuries. (Now we are talking a highly dangerous level. You are in full blown domestic violence, and have been for awhile!)

Any of these sound familiar? Want to know the chances of it getting better? Well, they’re not very good. Matter of fact, it is much more likely to escalate to extreme violence which could result in serious injuries, or death. So, if you want to consider this a PARTIAL checklist, why don’t you take time to run down these statements and see just how many you can personally relate to or apply to the life you are living today?

It is your choice. If you feel you are in danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline is : 1-800-500-1119. And be sure to have a safety plan in place before leaving. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Victim Support & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, bringing information and awareness to organizations seeking to properly help and support victims. Hear various interviews at the Broadcasts page of her website:

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