The Purple Door: The most dangerous time for victims

Published 8:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2018

Research by the U.S. Department of Justice has shown that the most dangerous time for a victim of family violence is when the decision is made to leave. 

The violence will usually escalate beyond anything that has gone before.  This is because the abuser is losing control of the victim and the already quick anger is often fanned to fury. The danger of the victim being murdered is greatly magnified.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports these as the “red flags” of domestic abuse:

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• Embarrassing or putting you down

• Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you

• Controlling who you see, where you go or what you do

• Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families

• Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses

• Preventing you from making your own decisions

• Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to hurt or take away your children

• Preventing you from working or attending school

• Blaming you for the abuse or acting like it’s not really happening

• Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets

• Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons

• Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you

• Attempting to stop you from pressing charges

• Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done

• Threatening to hurt or kill you

• Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with

• Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

• Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But the one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

So, what can a victim do if the decision is made to leave? This first thing is to seek the help of a domestic violence advocate who can listen and help to craft a safety plan. 

Steps to HOPE offers trained advocates who will provide options counseling regarding protective orders, finding a place to live, finding a job, assistance with medical bills, legal assistance, and many more aspects of moving out of an unhealthy relationship. Please call us at 828-894-2340 for assistance with domestic violence or sexual assault issues.

If you or someone you know is suffering domestic violence or sexual assault, please know you are not alone.  Steps to HOPE is here for you.  Please call Steps to HOPE Crisis Line at 828-894-2340 or visit our website