Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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Chris’s Story

I left my partner not because I didn’t love him, but because I couldn’t take it anymore. And it would have been very difficult, if not impossible to leave if it wasn’t for my family and my co-workers.

His controlling behaviors were subtle at first, then it turned into harassment and then harassment turned into stalking. If my daughter and I went out for the day, he would find out where we were going, and he would follow us, and then he would cause a terrible scene. He needed to know where I was, and who I was with every moment of the day. He called me a lousy parent, he said I was pathetic, and a loser.

There were many days that I was late for work and there were days that I couldn’t go at all. I was so exhausted from being up all night. I was making so many mistakes. Because of my time and my attendance, and then my performance issues, I was so frightened I

was going to lose my job. One of my co-workers saw what was going on with me and she reached out to me. She didn’t tell me what to do, she just let me know that she was there, if I needed help.

He did his best to keep me away from my family and my friends. My mother and my sister both expressed concern for me constantly. They too let me know that they were there if I needed help.

Things started getting worse at home. He gave me an “allowance” to run the house. Okay, no big problem. Then he cancelled my cell phone service and my credit cards. When I tried to talk to him about it, he blew up. He threw a frying pan across the room, and it hit my daughter.

It was then that I knew this had to stop. If not for my sake, for her sake. That was it. What could I do? I remembered that one of my co-workers suspected that I was in trouble so I reached out to her. She listened to me. She did not question me. She did not judge me. She gave me the number to the domestic violence hotline and a booklet with very helpful information. She also reminded me that our company had a Domestic Violence In The Workplace Policy that outlined and showed how they could help if I needed assistance.

Although I was terrified of what would happen if I did move forward, or what would happen if I didn’t, my coworker took the most important step in reaching out to me. Although I had a lot of decisions and choices to make, the information and the support that she gave me, it just made me feel like there was a better, another life out there for me. She gave me hope.

If you suspect that anyone that you work with might be a victim of domestic violence, please, please reach out to them. Your offer of help will be remembered if and when they need you.

Excerpt from "Finding Safety & Support: The Video"