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Domestic Violence

What to Expect After Escaping Domestic Abuse

What a survivor experiences while in an abusive relationship does not go away as soon as the relationship has ended. While there may no longer be the threat of actual physical harm, the lasting effects from emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, and any other abuse that occurred can stay with a survivor for a long time. The amount of stress experienced while living with abuse takes time to fully understand and sort out. This may seem like a lot of work, but getting out of an unhealthy relationship is always worth it. There is not anything an abuser can give you that matters more than your health and safety.

The most basic steps to take after leaving an unhealthy relationships is to find a safe place to stay, cutting off contact (as completely as possible for your situation) with the abuser, and making sure you can support yourself and others that may be in your care. You will also want to surround yourself with people who care about helping you. Having a support system can look like many different things- your friends, family, joining a support group, getting a counselor or therapist, etc.- but they each can be incredibly helpful to you while you work through regaining your independence.

Do not blame yourself for any of the things that you experienced. Be kind to yourself and take time to do things that you enjoy, even if they seem unimportant or silly. Use positive language when thinking or talking about yourself, and remember that you are stronger than you may believe. When you’re ready, go out of your way to have new experiences and conversations with others. Healing will look a little different for everyone, so take your time and do not put unrealistic expectations on yourself. It’s normal for people who have experienced abuse to have certain drawbacks and hesitations about things that may seem very casual to others.

At the end of the day, you are in charge of the decisions you make. Being a survivor of domestic abuse does not have to define who you are. Do not be afraid to ask for help, talk about your experiences, or continue living your life. It may take some time before you feel completely safe or “normal”, but healing from any abuse is worth the effort. You can expect to live a happy, healthy life after leaving an abusive relationship.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Peace at Home’s Crisis Hotline at 479.442.9811. We offer several different services, and can refer you to local resources as well.

“What do I do if my friend needs help?”

Abuse or assault is not a fun thing- to go through, to talk about, or to deal with. It can be hard to know what the right or wrong thing to do or say is. If someone trusts you enough to share that they have been abused, you can help them in a lot of ways.

1. Listen to and believe them.

Sharing their story can sometimes be just as traumatic as the actual event, so if a survivor wants to talk about it, listen. Try not to ask a lot of questions, and let them know that you care about them.

2. Know abuse is never the victim’s fault.

Sometimes it can be easy to believe that something ‘set off’ or ‘caused’ the abuser to act. The only person responsible for the abuse is the person who abused. Let your friend know that they are not in the wrong, and deserve to be treated better.

3. Find local resources that offer help.

It can be hard to know where to start when dealing with a stressful situation. Reach out to organizations that can help in relation to the abuse. The Peace at Home Shelter offers transitional housing, legal representation, and support with finding employment and support groups. We also offer community referrals. Other organizations have many of these same resources. You can also suggest making something like a Family Safety Plan, which is easily tailored to fit whatever emergency that may occur.

4. Respect their decisions.

Many survivors do not want to report the assault or abuse, or tell anyone else about what occurred. They know their situation better than you do, so let them make the calls.

5. Continue to support and help them.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a survivor is be their friend. Being able to discuss what’s happening with someone can help release stress, clear up any confusion about the situation, and re-establish healthy connections. Do your best to genuinely be there, even after the situation is resolved.

If you have any questions about domestic abuse or assault, or need help, contact Peace at Home Shelter’s Crisis Hotline at 479-442-9811.

National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness Month

February is National Teen Dating and Violence Prevention and Awareness Month! While our primary focus here at The Peace at Home Shelter is empowering survivors of domestic violence, it’s important to know that relational abuse does not occur only between adults. In fact, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million high school students have experienced physical abuse in their relationships. The cycle of abuse is a learned behavior, and there is not any specific cap determining to or from whom, and where, it can happen.


(Graphic provided by BreaktheCycle, which has a lot of information on both domestic abuse and teen dating violence.)

Many signs of abuse in teenage relationships are similar to domestic abuse. A relationship may be unhealthy or abusive if a partner:

  • is extremely jealous/possessive
  • has an explosive temper or constant mood swings
  • uses technology/social media to stalk, threaten, or intimidate you
  • isolates you from family or friends
  • lies, ignores, or accuses you falsely of things
  • physically inflicts pain or threatens to hurt you
  • pressures you to to engage in activities you do not want to do

Any type of abuse is never caused by a survivor’s actions, despite how the abuser may defend themselves. If you or someone you know is at risk, there are many things you can do to get help.

  • talk with an adult you can trust about your relationship
  • end contact with the abuser/partner
  • block abuser on social media
  • change your phone number

Surviving and recovering from an abusive relationship takes intentional effort. Having the courage to get help and talk about it is the first step. A support system is very helpful for someone who has experienced dating violence or abuse. There are many resources available to help you navigate what can a scary, unsafe, and emotional situation. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about what teen dating violence can look like, check out Love Is Respect or the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Peace at Home Family Shelter cannot provide shelter to unaccompanied minors. Please contact us at 479-442-9811 if you have any questions or are in need of help.

“If you try to leave me, I’ll…” Threats in Domestic Violence

Often times, abusers will use threats to keep a victim of domestic violence from trying to leave the relationship.

Common threats that survivors have told us they have heard from their abusive partners include threats to  –

  • Abduct the children or seek sole custody
  • Get the victim fired from their workplace
  • Have the victim deported or destroy their immigration documents
  • Harm the family pet
  • Destroy any property or possessions left behind
  • “Out” the victim to coworkers or family members 
  • Commit suicide or other self-harm
  • Become more physically violent or kill the victim

It is important to remember that no one deserves to be or enjoys being abused and that leaving a violent relationship is the most dangerous time for the victim. Abusers often feel very much out of control at this point and tend to retaliate and become more violent as a result. Statistically, this time is the most dangerous for victims:

75% of women who are killed as the result of a violent relationship are killed after the relationship has ended.

The fear felt by many victims of domestic violence is why emergency shelter like Peace at Home Family Shelter is so crucial.

If your partner is threatening you to keep you in the relationship, we can help.

Find a safe phone and contact us at 479-442-9811 and remember to always call 911 if there is an emergency or you feel your life is in danger.

Domestic Violence and Housing – Your Rights

In Arkansas, a landlord cannot:

  • refuse to enter into a rental agreement,
  • terminate a lease,
  • fail to renew a lease, or
  • evict a tenant

if their decision is based solely on the fact that the tenant has been a victim of domestic violence.

In addition to anti-discrimination laws, Arkansas rental laws provide the following protections for tenants who are survivors of domestic abuse:

  • Changing Locks

Tenants who have been victims of domestic violence are entitled to have their locks changed, at their expense, as long as they notify the landlord and provide them with a new key.

  • Damages

Landlords can seek damages from the abuser caused by an incident of domestic abuse and for any unpaid rent owed by the abuser.

  • Law Enforcement

Landlords cannot prohibit or penalize tenants for calling the police or emergency services in a domestic violence situation.

  • Court Order

If the court orders the abuser to stay away from a victim, and the abuser lives in the same house as the victim, the landlord can evict the abuser or forbid them from coming into the home.

If you are a domestic violence survivor and you are facing a housing issue, you do not have to go through the process alone. Peace at Home’s legal department can help you find legal representation, accompany you to the court hearing, and help you develop a safety plan. Call 479.442.9811 to speak with an advocate about legal services.