Signs of abuse

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire, formerly the Rape and Domestic Violence Crisis Center, provides services to victim/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking and child abuse. The mission of our organization is to empower individuals to make positive changes in their lives.

Services are available to everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, income or physical abilities. Advocates can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide free and confidential services. Our services include a 24/7 crisis line, court advocacy, referrals, hospital accompaniment, support groups, emergency shelter, and educational outreach.

The Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire falls under the umbrella of New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The coalition has 13 programs throughout New Hampshire – all providing services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment.

One of the most valuable things to know about the crisis center is that all conversations with individuals are completely confidential – including those under 18, unless we have it in written consent otherwise. The only exception to confidentiality is in cases of child abuse or abuse of an incapacitated adult.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another. To make it “domestic,” this behavior is used by a family member, someone you may be cohabitating with, a loved one or an intimate partner.

A batterer can use many tactics in order to maintain control such as physical violence; sexual violence; stalking; and verbal, emotional, mental, psychological and economic abuse. A teaching tool we use here at CCCNH is the power and control wheel. This displays different tactics abusers use to gain control. Some of these signs include using intimidation, threats, blaming, isolation, emotional abuse, male privilege, and using children as a pawn, if children are involved.

Cycle of abuse

Abuse is rarely ever a one-time incident, it is continuous and often referred to as the “cycle of violence.” It often begins subtly and will escalate in frequency and severity over time. There are usually three stages that occur in the “cycle of violence.” Every stage lasts a different amount of time depending on each situation and the individual relationship. These stages include:

Tension Building Stage: Walking on eggshells, criticism, yelling, swearing, using angry gestures, coercion, threats, blaming.

Abuse Stage: Any form of abuse such as physical and sexual attacks, threats, and intimidation.

Honeymoon Stage: Apologies, promises to change, gifts, blames abuse on victim, minimize or denies abuse.

What can you do?

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these behaviors by a partner:

Humiliate, criticize, or yell at you or others

Threaten to harm you, your children or your pet(s)

Keep you from seeing friends/family

Threatens to kill themselves if you leave

Tells you how to act/dress

Contact the crisis center with any questions you may have, or if you would like to meet with an advocate.

If you are a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, it is important to remember it is never your fault. We understand that it is difficult to talk about, but our advocates are here to support anyone going through a crisis, 24/7.

24-hour crisis line: 1-866-841-6229

Office line: 225-7376

(Written by Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire intern Taylor. For more information, visit cccnh.org.)