An abusive relationship is a state of affairs between two people which is characterized by improper or wrong action either physical, emotional, or verbal. There is an employment of inhumane measures because one person is constantly trying to gain power and control over the other.
Abusive individuals are usually overprotective, extremely romantic, and adorably sweet during the early stages of the relationships. They shower their potential partners with presents during courtship. Behind these initial efforts is the belief that women (or men) are trophies to win over or objects to possess.
If the abused partners learn how to empower themselves, this dangerous cycle of abuse can be stopped. The law governing this situation is the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”. It is not an impactful law against men! However, it is against men who treat their partners and children as objects or properties.
As you can imagine, this law is limited to abused women and children. How about the abused boyfriends and the battered husbands? They are plucked out because of the substantial distinction between men and women. This is why there is a great need for a new law that will equally protect these two genders.
Regardless of the different genders, getting out of an abusive relationship is never easy!Perhaps you are still hoping that the situation will change or you are scared of what your partner will do to you after your escape. It may seem like you are caught in a tangle and trapped for eternity but, help is available!
Here are the sensible steps that you may take to conquer the circumstance:
1. Know That It Is Not Your Fault
If you are on the crossroads deciding whether to stay or to leave, you are likely to feel conflicted, terrified, and confused. Do not be trapped by the uncertainty, self-blame, or guilt. The primary thing that matters now is your safety (and that of your child’s).
Abuse in the relationship is a choice and a learned behavior. The abusers’ race for power comes from the belief that their lives should take top priority over others.
Furthermore, they learned that this unhealthy behavior helps them to get what they want without being caught.
Abuse is not the victim’s fault!
2. Identify The Helplines And Other Resources
The government and non-government organizations that can help you with this issue includes Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Women Crisis Center (WCC), and GABRIELA Philippines.
a. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
DSWD has long been assisting violated women through centers which provide substitute home care. These centers are equipped to provide temporary shelter, clothing, food, and other personal care items. Moreover, the centers offer a myriad of support options including counselling, medical, and legal services.
Learn more by visiting www.dswd.gov.ph or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For emergencies, call (632) 931-8101.
b. Women Crisis Center (WCC)
WCC pioneered crisis work with women in the country. It offers temporary shelter, legal support, medical assistance, and stress management. Aside from these essential components, WCC boasts its innovative components namely: Feminist Counselling and Survivors Support Group.
The main goal of the former is to empower women by treating them with counsellors and therapists that are females. While the main goal of the latter is to provide a saf environment for the survivors.
Read more information about the WCC by visiting www.pcw.gov.ph/organization/womens-crisis-center or by emailing email@example.com. For emergencies, call (632) 926-7744.
c. GABRIELA Philippines
GABRIELA Philippines consists of over 200 women’s organization and support groups of Pinays and non-Pinays in various parts of the world. GABRIELA fights for issues such as violence, rape culture, human rights, censorship, and health. It follows two pro-women legislations namely: Anti-Trafficking In Persons Act and the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act.
For more information, go to www.gabrielaph.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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3. Recognize And Document The Abuse
You must recognize the type of abuse that you encountered. Remember that you do not have to acquire bruises from your partner to qualify for an abusive relationship.
Physical abuse is pretty much straightforward and victims can easily point out its consequences. However, abuse can exist in other forms that are more challenging to detect. These other forms include emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse includes acts that make you feel terrible, pathetic, and worthless. For example, your partner constantly belittles and humiliates you in front of your friends.
Financial abuse includes acts that limit your financial and personal freedom. For example, your partner takes everything that you earn.
Sexual abuse includes acts that happen without your consent. For example, you are always forced to have unsafe sex with your partner of 5 years.
After identifying the form/s of abuse that you experienced, you must acquire hard evidences to help your case in the event that a Court hearing is necessary. Try to record the threatening and intimidating conversations you have with your abuser. Take clear photographs of your bruises and wounds. Then, file police reports and seek medical attention for more documentation.
4. Create And Act Upon The Safety Plan
The last step is to create and act upon your safety plan (or exit plan). Follow these steps:
a. Prepare to leave at a moment’s notice.
The best time to escape depends on your assessment of the situation. Since it can happen at any moment, you must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Prepare an emergency bag filled with your essentials such as clothing, cash, and important documents. Keep it at your family’s or friend’s house if you wish.
Use this “Safety Packing List” as a guide.
b. Regularly rehearse your exit plan.
Regularly rehearse an exit plan that is both quick and safe. If you are bringing your children along, repeat the steps to them so they can remember it when the time comes. The 2015 award-winning movie “The Room” illustrates this perfectly:
c. Ensure that your privacy is secured.
Ensure that your computer and mobile phone is always secured. To keep your computer safe, be cautious with emails and instant messages. Change your usernames and passwords as well.
To keep your mobile phone safe, use a prepaid number. Then, turn off the location settings on your mobile phone so that the abuser cannot track your location.
d. Memorize the list of your emergency resources.
Aside from the resources mentioned on the third section, you can ask several of your trusted loved ones for help. Memorize their numbers in case you need a ride or a place to stay.
They can also help you contact the police while you are successfully escaping!
Remember that you do not deserve to be put in this difficult circumstance. Nor do your children deserve to grow up in an abusive household. Fight for the people you love, fight for your own life!