IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, PLEASE CALL 911.
What to do While in an Abusive Relationship
If you are currently in an abusive relationship, the immediate concern is your personal safety. Both the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Manager and Rose Brooks advocates can help you create a safety plan. Sometimes victims of relationship violence fear that individuals will try to make them leave the relationship. Although some people may have that goal, whether or not you leave, and when, are choices that only you can make. If you do choose to leave the relationship, safety planning can help you figure out how to do so safely. If you are not ready to do so yet, or want to continue in the relationship, these services can help you develop safety plans and cope with the feelings raised by violence.
What to do After Leaving an Abusive Relationship
One of the biggest fears victims of relationship violence have about leaving is that their partner will come after them and hurt them even more. This is a valid fear, as violence does tend to escalate when the victim leaves. Because of this, it is important to develop a safety plan with the help of friends, family members, counselors, advocates, and the police. Although you do not have to talk to the police unless you want to, they can be helpful in obtaining emergency orders of protection and protecting your safety.
Besides personal safety, survivors of intimate partner violence have to deal with emotional reactions to having been physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused by a loved one. It is common to experience depression, feelings of helplessness and rage, hopelessness, self-blame, and fear. Support from friends, family members, and often counselors or advocates can help you in your recovery. Shelters are also available to help you get back on your feet, and are especially important if you were economically dependent on your partner. There are a number of shelters in the Kansas City area that are free of charge, most of which accept children as well. Unfortunately, most shelters do not provide residential services for male victims of domestic violence, but most will provide assistance in finding a safe place and accessing other resources.
What can I do?
If you are currently, or have been, abused by your partner, or think you might be, it is important that you talk to someone. There are a number of services available both on and off campus, including the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Manager, UMKC Counseling Center, and the UMKC LGBTQIA Resource Center. KCAVP (Kansas City Anti-Violence Project) is a community resource that is committed to providing domestic violence, sexual assault, and bias crimes advocacy and education the LBGT community. All of these offices are staffed with people who are sensitive to the issues in both opposite-sex and same-sex intimate partner violence and can help you both to recover from the abusive relationship and to find other services and assistance you might need.