Domestic Violence Awareness: 10 Relationship Rules to Save Your Life

ESSENCE.COM Oct, 14, 2009

One in every four women will experience harm from a partner, with rates much higher for Black women. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’ve rounded up ten tips that can greatly decrease your chances of assault—and save your life.

1 of 12 Corbis

One in every four women will experience harm from a partner, with rates much higher for Black women. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’ve rounded up ten tips that can greatly decrease your chances of assault—and save your life.

2 of 12 Getty

A fancy car, house or degree doesn’t protect you from abuse. Realize abusers don’t discriminate. One of the country’s highest concentrations of domestic violence occurred in upscale neighborhoods in Maryland’s Prince George’s County. Know that abuse is wrong from a man, no matter his profession or power. You deserve better.
Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

3 of 12 Corbis

One of the first strategies abusers use is to isolate their victims from family and friends is to minimize their resources. Stay connected with loved ones and speak regularly, so if they don’t hear from you they know something is going on. When that new guy asks you to miss your sorority meeting to help him decorate, remember someone who really loves you wouldn’t make you choose between other people and things you enjoy.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

4 of 12 Corbis

For a lot of women, leaving an abusive situation doesn’t feel like an option with no way to support themselves or kids. Continue to keep your own emergency funds in every relationship, in case you ever have to fend for yourself. Also, keep control over your online accounts and log-ins, including Facebook, to cut down on ways someone can keep tabs on you.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

5 of 12 Corbis

Don’t isolate an incident. Domestic violence is a pattern and if it happens once chances are high it will happen again. Beware of abuser techniques to minimize the act and place blame on the victim, followed by apologies and gifts. Get out early and end the cycle.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

6 of 12 Corbis

Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of convicted D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad, didn’t have a single scar or injury when she filed for a restraining order, after enduring years of emotional, verbal and financial abuse. It is still domestic violence if an abuser threatens you, yells, forces you to have sex, or takes away your resources of living. There are organizations to help, and your voice can be heard.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

7 of 12 Corbis

Keep a personal journal to jot down weekly accomplishments. Don’t worry about needing grand achievements to add to this handy book; the dollar you gave the homeless person on your way to the office last week or finally finishing that novel you started six months ago will work just fine.

Engaging in such an activity will serve as a reminder of how fabulous you are when and if a beau tries to break your spirit with abusive behavior. It also prevents you from becoming dependent on recognition from a significant other. There is no need to dim your light in order for someone else’s to shine.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

8 of 12 Corbis

If your sorority sister or gym buddy is inquisitive about the new guy you’ve been seeing, don’t assume she’s just being nosy. She just might notice a change in your behavior that concerns her and she could be looking out for your safety and well-being. Who knows? Your friend might have spotted some of the domestic violence warning signs (possessiveness, isolating, etc.). Plus, you might be able to return the favor to another woman at a later time.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

9 of 12 Corbis

A woman’s intuition is real. If you’re feeling uneasy about the number of voice mail messages your new guy has left you at work or that he “pops up” at your apartment unannounced, act on them…and fast. Experts agree that feeling afraid of your partner much of the time is often a sign that domestic abuse is or will take place.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

10 of 12 Corbis

Even if you’re single, you can never be too prepared for an abusive relationship. Keep trusted resources like the ones below in a safe place like your PDA and/or home computer. Remember, knowledge is power.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

Safe Horizon
1-800-621-HOPE
Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

11 of 12 Corbis

Be sure those close (even your neighbors) to you know what type of car your suitor drives, where he works and any other details that they potentially may need to know in the event of abuse. It is important that those in your inner circle are as informed about this gentleman as possible in the beginning. Even if they never need the info, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »

12 of 12 Corbis

Be sure those close (even your neighbors) to you know what type of care your suitor drives, where he works and any other details that they potentially may need to know if the event of abuse. It is important that those in your inner circle are as informed about this gentleman as possible in the beginning. Even if they never need the info, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Check out insight from real women about this important issue »
Read this to find out more about how you or your loved ones can spot the signs of an abuser »