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Domestic Violence and Dating Violence

Red FlagsIntimate partner, domestic and/or dating violence means any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of or person in a dating or cohabitating relationship with such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b, or 53a-73a of the general statutes, stalking under section 53a-181c, 53a-181d or 53a-181e of the general statutes, or domestic or family violence as designated under section 46b-38h of the general statutes. This includes any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse or by a partner in a dating relationship that results from (1) sexual assault (2) sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship; (3) domestic violence; (4) sexual harassment (5) sexual exploitation, as such terms are defined in this policy.

Offenses that are designated as “domestic violence” are against family or household members or persons in dating or cohabitating relationships and include assaults, sexual assaults, stalking, and violations of protective or restraining orders issued by a Court. Intimate partner violence may also include physical abuse, threat of abuse, and emotional abuse.

  • Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, slapping, pulling hair or punching.
  • Threat of abuse includes, but is not limited to, threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon on another (whether victim or acquaintance, friend or family member of the victim) or other forms of verbal threat.
  • Emotional abuse includes, but is not limited to, damage to one’s property, driving recklessly to scare someone, name calling, threatening to hurt one’s family members or pets and humiliating another person.
  • Cohabitation occurs when two individuals dwell together in the same place as if married.
  • The determination of whether a “dating relationship” existed is to be based upon the following factors: the reporting victim’s statement as to whether such a relationship existed, the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons reported to be involved in the relationship.

Taken from the Board of Regents Sexual Misconduct Reporting, Support Services and Processes Policy

How Might I Feel?

  • Denial, believing that the abusive partner will change because of his remorse and promises to stop battering, or the abuse is not that serious
  • Fear of the abuser
  • Alone, or lack of emotional support
  • Guilt over the failure of the relationship
  • Attachment to the partner, loving the person that they were before they were abusive
  • Fear of making major life changes
  • Responsible for the abuse
  • Helpless, hopeless and trapped

Preserving Evidence

In the case of dating violence and domestic violence, it is recommended that the survivor logs incidents with dates/times/witnesses, photograph injuries, seek medical care, etc. Be sure to keep this information in a place that it will not be found by the offender.

If you are still in the relationship

  • Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
  • Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
  • Keep change with you at all times.
  • Memorize all important numbers.
  • Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.
  • Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.

If you have left the relationship

  • Change your phone number.
  • Screen calls.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
  • Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
  • Vary your routine.
  • Notify school and work contacts.

If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.

Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)

Adapted from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Four Components of a Healthy Relationship

  • Respect: Learning about and valuing what is important to each other.
  • Honesty: Being open about thoughts, feelings, & the desired direction of the relationship.
  • Trust: To rely on or have confidence in someone. Over time, trusting your partner will be necessary for a healthy relationship; trust is not automatic--it has to be earned!
  • Communication: Communication is listening and speaking. When communicating, try to make her/him feel justified in her/his emotions. Repeat what they say as you understand it and ask if you understand the situation correctly. Never bring up past events or situations--focus on the present situation. Don't expect your partner to read your mind. Be as clear and direct as possible.

Remember - You are not to blame! No one deserves to be abused.

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