What Can I Do?

What Can I do if I'm a victim of abuse

If you are in danger, call 911 NOW. 

For those in an abusive relationship wondering, “What can I do?” my first advice is to avoid denial. Denial only makes things worse. What you are going through is real, and you need real help. 

Help is available. People do care. 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline will take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

Looking for someone who cares and can help? Call them right now at (800) 799-SAFE.

I’m a Victim of Abuse–What can I do?

In most cases, abuse increases in frequency and nature as the victim lets the abuser get away with more and more. What was once breaking objects escalates to breaking them on you. What started as name-calling increases to accusations. It then progresses to threats to your life if you cheat on him or try to leave.

Verbal and emotional abuse become violent outbursts that threaten your safety.

After time, he accompanies the threats with a weapon. All too often, the abuse continues to increase until it ends in death.

Too frequently, the abuser murders his partner.

Often, the children are killed.

Sometimes the abuser commits suicide or dies at the hands of his victim.

Occasionally, they all die.

What can I do to stop the abuse?

The first thing you need to do is come to a realistic understanding of how serious and dangerous the abuse is. Get honest with yourself and your situation.

If your partner curses and yells at you while baselessly accusing you of cheating, maybe professional help with a counselor is all you need.

However, if your partner has threatened your life while holding a knife to your throat, you need to get out. NOW. You need the kind of serious help you get by calling 911.

If you’re not in immediate danger, you can find help at a local women’s shelter or by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

While these two scenarios are at the extremes of possibilities, the implication is clear. Whether your relationship experiences mild verbal abuse with over-the-top jealousy, homicidal rages, or anything in between, you both need help.

The Most Important Step

The most important thing is your safety and the safety of your children. If you or your children are in danger, you need to get away.

You may need a restraining order to keep him away from you.

Don’t worry–you are not alone. There are foundations, agencies, and shelters. Many people want to help you, so please let them.

When trying to decide if your relationship has any chance of ever being healthy, the real question is this: How hard is your partner willing to work?

Abusers fall into three categories. They either:

  1. Don’t care what they’re doing is wrong.
  2. Fail to realize what they’re doing is wrong.
  3. Understand what they do is wrong, but they lose control in their anger.

Maybe your partner just needs to learn some basic rules of relationships. To understand that going through your purse, phone, and emails is wrong. You have a right to privacy, and he’s violating them.

Or maybe he needs intensive counseling to work on his anger and lack of self-control. 

If your abuser refuses to get help, this places him firmly in the “not caring what he’s doing is wrong” category. When an abuser doesn’t care, he won’t change—except to get worse. If he won’t change for the better, there is no hope whatsoever in having a healthy relationship.

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