Safety

Personal Safety

If you are in an abusive relationship, your pregnancy and new baby are in danger. “Domestic Violence” is when your partner threatens, hurts, or controls you. This can take many forms:

  • Physical abuse (hitting, punching, pushing, kicking)
  • Sexual abuse (forcing you to do sexual acts when you don’t want to)
  • Psychological Abuse (shaming you, degrading you, controlling your life, threatening you)

You might think that having a baby will make things better, but the cycle of abuse is very complex. Having a new baby in the house adds more stress and can make the abuse worse. Fifty percent of men who beat their partners also beat their children. Now is not a time to take any chances. You and your baby are too important.1

Stress from an abusive relationship and being scared can make you want to turn to smoking, drinking, or other drug use. This can be even more dangerous for you and your baby. The first step is to talk to someone. This can be scary, but many women report feeling overwhelming relief and safety. Tell someone you trust: a friend, clergy member, health care provider.

Recognizing abuse is the first step.

 

Signs that you are in an abusive relationship:

 (from Help Guide.org)

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings 

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior 

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats 

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?

 

Stress from an abusive relationship and being scared can make you want to turn to smoking, drinking, or other drug use. This can be even more dangerous for you and your baby. The first step is to talk to someone. This can be scary, but many women report feeling overwhelming relief and safety. Tell someone you trust: a friend, clergy member, health care provider.

 

For the sake of you and your baby-to-be, get immediate help:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-799-SAFE (7233) and 800-787-3224 (TTY). Spanish speakers are available. When you call, you will first hear a recording and may have to hold. Hotline staff offer crisis intervention and referrals. If requested, they connect women to shelters and can send out written information.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-656-4673. When you call, you will hear a menu and can choose #1 to talk to a counselor. You will then be connected to a counselor in your area who can help you. You can also visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.


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1) Pregnancy. 2012. Department of Health and Human Services  – Office of Women’s Health
Content Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net