It is common for someone who is being hurt by domestic violence to be hesitant to seek out support services. Many fear that their abuser will hurt them more if they seek out such services. Others are afraid that these programs may try to force them to leave their partner. Still others are afraid of how contacting such programs would look to friends, family, employers or others.
At Emerge, we try to encourage people to learn more about the kinds of services each domestic violence program offers. All services are confidential, and they do not necessarily attempt to have you go into a shelter. In fact, many people who contact such services seek out individual counseling or attend group support meetings to talk with others going through similar circumstances.
Your nearest domestic violence program will also be able to give more information about your legal rights and about support services that the program may offer. We urge you to find out about your options regardless of whether you intend to use them at this time so that you have a plan in the event of an emergency.
It is common for someone who is being abused and criticized by their partner to feel isolated, depressed, or even crazy — these are sometimes the effects of the abuse. If you have these feelings, support from someone who understands what it is like to live with abuse and who will not judge you for your choices may be helpful to you. Assistance of this kind is available at our listed domestic violence programs. You can talk with someone over the phone or in person. These programs can provide legal advocacy, support groups, or help with housing. They may also provide emergency shelter for you and your children at a secret location.
In Massachusetts, if you have been abused but do not want to leave your house, you can obtain a restraining order that will require your partner to stay away from your house or apartment even if it they own or lease it. Call your local domestic violence program or police department to learn how to obtain a restraining order (also called a “209A”) or call the Massachusetts State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-877-785-2020. For other states, you can call your local domestic violence program or police department to find out about specific restraining order regulations in your location.
Whatever your plans are, we hope you will consider the above options and sources of support.