Growing up with violence
Domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking happen everywhere, including the Upper Valley. WISE advocates are here to listen and support you. We know that you can make your own decisions when you have information and support. You are the expert in your life.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and manipulative behaviors committed against a current or former intimate partner to gain power and control. Intimate partner violence, relationship violence and dating violence are all terms used to refer to a relationship that is abusive. Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator, they come from all demographics.
You can read more about Domestic Violence in our Surviving Domestic Violence Booklet.
On average, 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. 1
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women will experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
In Vermont over the last 13 years, 52% of all homicides were domestic violence related (2007 Vermont Fatality Review).
In New Hampshire, more than 50% of women will experience a sexual and/or physical assault in their lifetime (2007 New Hampshire Violence Against Women Report).
WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you 2every hour, every day. You can call 866-348-WISE for immediate support.
Does your partner...
disrespect or embarrass you in public?
disrespect you in private, so other people only see his/her good side?
tell you that you are crazy?
get mad at you for spending time with friends or family or anytime separate?
undermine your parenting or manipulate your relationship with your children?
monitor your phone, emails, or Facebook?
prevent you from working, sleeping, studying or taking care of yourself?
threaten to keep the children away from you?
control the finances, steal your money or prevent you from working?
insist that “this is just what relationships are like” or that your friends and family are trying to ruin your relationship?
pressure you to drink, do drugs or other illegal behaviors?
enforce gender roles that support male dominance and female obedience?
threaten to share your private information or spread rumors about you?
blame you for his/her behaviors or for the problems in the relationship?
threaten to hurt one or both of you?
An abusive relationship often appears to be wonderful at the beginning. An abusive partner may be charming, fun and loving. Gradually and quietly, elements of abusive behavior creep into the relationship.
Abuse is not because of...
poor anger management skills—domestic violence is about a desire to have power and control over the partner, not because the abuser gets angry or “out of hand.” While there may be outbursts of more extreme anger or violence, controlling and manipulative behaviors also occur when the abuser is calm.
substance use or abuse—drugs and alcohol often act as an excuse for an abuser to act more extreme but the manipulative and coercive behaviors are present without substances.
childhood experiences of abuse—violence is a learned behavior but it is not an excuse for perpetration.
low self-esteem—the abuser feels entitled to power and control over the partner and is confident that the behavior is acceptable.
lack of trust—is not an excuse to control what the partner does, to whom (s)he talks to or with whom (s)he spends time.
Abuse is never your fault.
Another layer: identity and same sex relationships
Abusers who are LGBTQIA are exercising the same behaviors of power and control, entitlement and ownership over their partners, just as heterosexual or cis abusers. Additional layers of shame, depression, fear, powerlessness and silence are created when identities are culturally marginalized. It may not feel safe looking for support from families, friends or communities who had previously excluded you because of your LGBTQIA identity. If the abuser is also part of the LGBTQIA community it may feel extra hard to find support because of pressure from the group, or fear of additional criticism from the outside world.
Abuse is never your fault.
LGBTQIA: you are not alone
44% of lesbian women and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. 3
26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
25% - 33% of LGBT relationships are abusive. This is the same percentage as straight relationships. 4
36.3% of lesbians, 55.1% bisexual women have been slapped, pushed, or shoved by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. 5
There are ways to increase your safety while you are in an abusive relationship and when you are leaving one. We believe that you are the expert in your situation. Below are some considerations for increasing safety, that may or may not be appropriate for your situation. Only you know how to stay safe from your abuser.
Identify the people people in your life that you can tell about the abuse: friends, family members, co-workers, doctors, police officers, advocates.
Establish a safe word that will tell your supporters that you need them to take action without alerting the abuser that help is on the way.
Think about how you want your supporters to help you: listen, keep important documents safe or hold onto money, call the police.
Keep records and evidence of the abuse: take pictures of injuries or property damages, keep a log of events, call the police.
Keep your prescriptions safe from your abuser. If you are concerned about your abuser damaging or withholding birth control, talk with your medical provider about the best method for you.
Find a hidden place for money and copies of important documents.
Create new email/Facebook accounts and phone number.
Avoid dangerous clothing or accessories (i.e., scarfs or long necklaces that can strangle).
Create several believable reasons and alibis for you to avoid time with your abuser.
Identify safe places where you can go for short or long periods of time. Some ideas: a friend’s or family member’s home, work, park, public business, shopping center, bookstore, the police station, library.
Seek medical treatment for injuries caused by the abuse and have injuries documented by a medical professional.
Read about the considerations for safety around technology.
Leaving is a dangerous time for victims of domestic violence. Take all threats seriously.
Anticipate how your abuser may react to your ending the relationship.
If you have children, will he call the police and accuse you of kidnapping?
Women who are victims of domestic violence have a higher rate of being arrested—might he accuse you of a crime?
Do you have shared bank accounts or credit cards that he may empty or max out?
Secure your money. If you have children, it is recommended that you take 75% of shared income. If you do not have children, take 50%. You do not have to spend the money, but it is very common for abusers to empty accounts or max out credit cards after their victim leaves. Learn more about financial safety.
Bring important items and documents such as: identification, birth certificates (yours and children’s), clothing, lease, house deed, insurance papers, house and car keys, medications, jewelry/valuable objects, address book/important contacts, school records, immunization records, last year’s tax return, comfort items.
Consider making arrangements with a friend or animal shelter if you have pets and do not want to leave them with the abuser.
Call 866-348-WISE. You can talk with an advocate abut to a safe strategy for leaving.
Establish a “safe word” with your kids that will signal when they should leave or call for help.
Talk with your children about how they can stay safe and where they can go when they feel afraid.
Help your kids think of safe adults that they can call or go to when they have questions or are scared.
Encourage your kids to identify emotions and build skills to honor their needs in safe ways.
Talk with your children’s school or care providers and create a safety plan.
Tell your children that violence and abuse are never OK. It is not their fault OR yours.
Change your cell phone number or block your abuser’s number.
Unfriend the abuser on Facebook and other social media platforms, make sure your privacy settings are strong.
Inform family members, housemates and/or co-workers to screen your calls and make sure your abuser cannot contact you or visit you at work.
Avoid certain areas that your abuser may look for you (i.e., banks, stores, restaurants, gyms).
Record any irregular occurrences, stalking behaviors, or signs of the abuser. Be aware that abusers can easily access technological devices to stalk their victims.
Change or vary your routines so that your abuser cannot track or follow you.
Plan in advance what you will do if you see your abuser in public or if (s)he tries to contact you.
Identify people that you can reach out to when you need support.
Apply for a Domestic Violence Petition from Lebanon Family Court or Relief from Abuse Order from Windsor Family Court. WISE can help you with this. You can read about the relief that is available in specific states here.
Tell your children’s school/care givers the specific people who are and are not allowed to pick them up.
Talk to your children about what they should do if they feel scared with a parent. Allow your kids to talk about the relationship without worrying about your feelings.
Plan with your children about what they should do if they see a parent without visitation rights or if the parent tries to contact them.
Remind your children that even though the abusive behavior is never ok, it is ok for the children to still love the abusive parent or want a relationship with him or her. Help your children connect with adults that they can talk to when they are confused.
Supporting a friend or loved one who is in an abusive relationship can feel frustrating, overwhelming and scary. You can read the Surviving Domestic Violence Booklet to better understand the dynamics of abusive relationships.
Here are some helpful tips for supporting victims, safely and effectively:
Stay in touch
Abusers frequently isolate their victims from friends and family.
Do not take it personally if your friend is suddenly busy or unable to see you. Do your best to stay in your friend’s life, check in on your friend and let him or her know that you are available.
Listen and believe
Abusers intentionally make their victims feel confused, embarrassed and/or guilty. Listen to your friend openly and without judgment.
Focus on the abuse
Point out the behaviors that are abusive rather than criticize the abuser. Talking about what an awful person the abuser is naturally makes the victim feel defensive.
Use the Empowerment Model
The goal of an abuser is to have power and control over the victim.
Remind your friend that (s)he has the power to make his or her own decisions.
The victim knows best how to keep himself or herself and the children safe.
Ask how you can be a helpful piece of their safety plan.
Call our crisis line, 866-348-WISE to talk with a WISE advocate about how to support someone in your life.
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact or behavior including: sexual harassment, voyeurism and rape. Only we can decide what happens to our bodies and it is never our fault when someone chooses to violate that right. Sexual Violence includes;
any sexual act with someone who, for any reason, cannot consent or refuse
any act of violence where sex is a weapon
any form of non-consensual sexual activity
any sexual act one is forced to perform
Each state has different laws around sexual violence and reporting.
You can read more about Sexual Violence in our Surviving Sexual Violence Booklet.
Rape, also referred to as Sexual Assault, is defined by the FBI as: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” 8
1 in 4 women report surviving rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
91.9% of female victims of rape were a partner or acquaintance of the perpetrator
(CDC, NISVS, 2011).
For female rape survivors, 98.1% of the time a man was the perpetrator (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011).
For male rape survivors, 93% of the time, a man was the perpetrator
(Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011).
96.1% of drug related sexual assault involved alcohol consumption (Steven et al., 2010).
In up to 50% of the cases, the victim, perpetrator, or both had been drinking (Abbey et al, 2004).
WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you every hour, every day. Call 866-348-WISE for immediate support.
Everyone’s experiences of sexual violence are different and unique. Additional layers of shame, depression, fear, powerlessness and silence are created when identities are culturally marginalized. It may not feel safe looking for support from families, friends or communities who had previously excluded you because of your LGBTQIA identity. If the perpetrator is also part of the LGBTQIA community it may feel extra hard to find support because of pressure from the group or fear of additional criticism from the outside world.
Rape myths often hide the realities of dating and sexual violence in our culture and make it much harder to recognize all the varieties of experiences and identities that are affected. Cultural myths such as women cannot rape or that a man who raped a man must be gay, can make survivors feel like their experience was not actually an assault and create implications or confusion around sense of identity or what happened. If you experienced sexual violence, know that it is real and it is not your fault.
When people are targets for crime and violence because of their identity, the violence is considered a hate crime. 10 There are additional laws that exist to protect people who are victims of hate motivated violence. 11
People who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bi-sexual have an equal or higher prevalence of experiencing sexual violence. 12
64% of transgender people have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime. 13
Nearly half of bisexual men and 4 in 10 gay men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. It is likely that the rate is higher or comparable to heterosexual men. 14
Sexual violence has been found to be even higher in some subpopulations within the transgender community, including transgender youth, transgender people of color, individuals living with disabilities, homeless individuals, and those who are involved in the sex trade. 15
In our society, men and boys are pressured to be strong, powerful, dominant, and in control at all times. Because of social pressure, male survivors of sexual violence often feel unable to talk about what happened or to seek help. Everyone processes sexual assault differently. Whatever you may be feeling is normal.
Some common feelings that male victims experience are:
Confusion: Sexual violence does not always hurt. You may have been physically aroused by what happened. It is a normal physiological response and does not mean that you wanted the assault to happen.
Questioning: Sometimes men, who were assaulted by other men, question their sexuality.
A physiological response stimulated by a perpetrator does not indicate homosexuality.
Betrayal: You may feel that your body betrayed you because you did not fight the perpetrator. It is very common for sexual assault victims to freeze and become unable to fight.
Embarrassment: You did nothing wrong and did not cause the assault. The perpetrator is the only one to blame for what happened. It was not your fault.
Avoidance: You may have a desire to avoid your feelings or forget about the assault. You can talk about what happened to you. You do not have to go through this alone.
WISE advocates support all survivors of sexual violence, including men. For information and support exclusively for male victims, check out www.1in6.org .
You are not alone
1 in 71 adult men will be raped at some point in their lives.1
1 in 5 adult men experience sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. (M.Black et al., The National Intimate Partner Survey and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, 2011.
Nearly 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. (National Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Exploitation, National Plan to Prevent the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children, 20120). 2
For male rape survivors, 93% of the time, a man was the perpetrator. (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011
WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you every hour, every day. Call our crisis line, 866-348-WISE for immediate support.
The legal definition of consent varies from state to state.
It can be confusing when considering legal definitions and solely relying upon body language. Consent is not just permission. For any sexual act to be consensual, it has to be freely chosen, without coercion, force or manipulation. A person has to want to engage in sexual activity for it to be consensual. Consent requires a conversation. Current ideas about hooking up are based on the idea that we can assume everything is OK until someone says NO. This is wrong. Consent means that you are asking before anything happens and assuming a NO until you hear a clear YES.
Pressuring someone to say “yes” is not consent.
Body language must match verbal language. If your partner(s) does not seem into it, check in with them.
Consent for one sexual activity does not assume consent for another sexual activity.
You and your partner(s) can change your mind and stop whenever you want. Just because you’ve started to hook up, doesn’t mean you have to keep going.
Alcohol and drugs can affect one’s ability to consent.
No one can legally give their consent when they are incapacitated.
“No” does not mean “try harder.”
What does consent sound like?
Let’s do it
I want to___
That feels so good
Can I touch you____?
Check in with your partner
What do you want to do?
Do you like this?
Do you want to make out?
Would you be into doing ___?
Does that feel good?
What do you like?
What do you want to do to me?
What do you want me to do to you?
Do you want to try _____?
Do you want to stop?
Do you want to keep going?
Are you OK?Is there anything you don’t want me to do to you?
More resources for consent
Rape and sexual assault do not always occur in the ways that are most frequently portrayed in the media. There are a number of times when there is no weapon used, there is no obvious physical injury, and alcohol was involved.
We all respond to trauma in different ways, you are your best expert. WISE advocates can talk you through your options, so you can decide what makes sense for you.
● Nurses, called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), are specially trained to care for sexual assault victims and collect physical evidence
● If you want to make a report to law enforcement, it is highly recommended that you are examined by a SANE as soon as possible, although a SANE can collect evidence within 5 days.
● Try to avoid the following: brushing teeth, eating, drinking, showering, going to the bathroom or anything that may destroy physical evidence on your body.
● Bring the clothes that you were wearing during the assault (especially underwear) in a brown paper bag.
● If you are unsure about making a report you may have evidence collected by a SANE anonymously and the evidence will be stored should you choose to make a report at a later date.
● Exams are paid for by the state. Your insurance will not be billed.
● The SANE will notify the police only if you give permission. If you do not give permission, you will need to contact the police to give a statement.
● If you are under 18 the police will automatically be called.
● We know that when we experience trauma, our brains do not always allow them to remember the assault chronologically. This is a normal physiological response to what has happened to their body. You can read more about trauma in our Surviving Sexual Violence Booklet.
● Give yourself time to remember and write down things as they come to you. This can help provide a clear statement.
● Once you give a statement, what proceeds is out of your hands. It is up to the police to decide whether they have enough evidence to continue with an investigation.
● A WISE advocate can go with you to make a statement to the police.
Supporting someone who has survived sexual violence is much harder when we do not have good information. Because of the intrusive myths that exist about sexual violence, many survivors feel silenced. Read the Surviving Sexual Violence Booklet more information, tips and resources.
People do not like to talk about sexual assault. False reporting only happens in rare occasions. If the survivor says that it happened, it did.
No one wants to be assaulted. The survivor did not ask for it no matter where (s)he was, what (s)he was wearing, how much (s)he was drinking, or what (s)he was doing. The only reason the assault happened is that the perpetrator chose to assault the individual.
A victim loses power when violated. By empowering the survivor to make his or her own decisions, (s)he regains power. Let the survivor have control. Let the individual see how proud you are that (s)he survived.
It can be a difficult time for loved ones because they want the survivor to “get better.” Each person has his or her own pace for processing trauma. Rushing a survivor is not helpful.
Walks, eating well, taking baths, yoga or spending time with friends can be healing activities. WE all want and need different things. Help identify what would be comforting to the individual.
Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would put a reasonable person in fear. The motivation of a stalker is to have power and control over the victim. Stalking behaviors often are not criminal individually, but do become criminal when the context is examined.
Stalking can involve threats or sexual innuendo and the stalker generally tries to intimidate or induce fear in the person they are stalking.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced stalking at least once in their lifetime. 16
81% of victims stalked by their intimate partners report previous physical assaults by the same offender (NVAW Survey). 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims are stalked by current or former intimate partners. 17
● Abusers may stalk their victims as a way to maintain control during the relationship.
● Abusers may stalk their victims as a way to regain their control if the victim leaves the relationship.
Stalking victims who are raped most often identify the stalker as a former intimate partner, friend, roommate or neighbor (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics 2009).
WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call our crisis line (866) 348-WISE for immediate support.
Victims may only realize they are being stalked once they identify a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents.
receiving phone calls and text messages
getting incessant messages left on social networking sites
finding unwanted letters or gifts
feeling of being followed, stared at or watched
seeing the stalker at random or unusual places
having things moved or missing from your home
creating print flyers about you
posting information about you online
trying to contact or gain information about you through other people
showing up at your home, work, etc. uninvited
making direct or indirect threats to harm you or people in your life
damaging your property
The person being stalked often develops a sense of loss of control over his or her life and is forced to change routines.
Perpetrators may use technology as a tool for stalking. Technology is constantly changing and advancing. It’s important that you regularly check privacy and security settings for your personal profiles.
A stalker may:
check your internet history if they have access to your computer
install spyware software that sends copies of your keystrokes including: passwords, websites visited, emails sent
follow you via social media “check-ins” or mutual “friends”
post private information, pictures or other content about you, build websites or blogs
write attacks through email or social media
send incessant emails or messages
call constantly and leave voicemails and text messages
use call spoofing software that allows him or her to change the number that appears on your caller ID or change the sound of his or her voice
track you using GPS within your cell phone if the stalker has access to your cell phone account
place GPS underneath your car, in your bag, etc.
place very small cameras in your room, or car.
Stalking can be very dangerous and should be taken seriously. 76% of intimate partner femicide victims had been stalked by their intimate partner. 18
Trust your instincts! You are not crazy and your fear is real.
Take all threats seriously.
Change routes. Leave for your class or work at different times, vary your schedule.
Decide in advance what to do if you see the stalker in public, at home, at work, at school, etc.
Ask for support from trusted friends, family, teachers, coaches, employer or co-workers.
Change passwords frequently: email, PIN, online banking, phone screen lock, Facebook, etc.
Keep privacy and security settings on personal online profiles up to date.
Do not communicate with the stalker.
Consider getting a second phone and/or new email address to keep in touch with friends and family. You will have the security of a private phone and email and you can keep a record of incriminating evidence of calls and messages on the old phone and email account.
Keep evidence of stalking in order to demonstrate a pattern and to provide context for the scary behaviors.
● Write down time, date, place of any stalking occurrence
● Keep emails, messages, notes
● Photograph any damages
Talk and safety plan with local police.
Call our crisis line (866) 348-WISE for immediate support.
You may apply for a Domestic Violence Petition if you are being stalked by a current or former intimate partner or household member. If your stalker does not meet the relationship criteria for a DV Petition, you may apply for a Stalking Petition. Both orders are obtained at Lebanon Family Court in Centerra Parkway.
To learn more about police support in New Hampshire, read the NH Stalking Protocol for Law Enforcement.
You may apply for a Relief from Abuse Order if you are being stalked by a current or former intimate partner or household member. If your stalker does not meet the relationship criteria for an RFA, you may apply for an Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault. Both orders are obtained at Windsor Family Court.
Many behaviors of stalkers are not criminal and may not look scary or harmful out of context. A victim may find talking about the experience difficult. (S)he may fear that (s)he will not be believed or will be viewed as crazy. Validate the individual’s feelings and experiences.
Stay in contact. Establish a frequency of time that the two of you will connect.
Document any evidence of stalking that you witness. Make a report to the police if the individual asks for your help.
Treating partner like a servant. Making all the decisions. Acting like the “master of the castle.” Defining partner roles.
Making light of abuse and not taking concerns seriously. Denying abuse. Shifting responsibility for abuse. Blaming partner for abuse.
Manipulating or forcing sex. Getting partner pregnant. Getting partner drunk or drugged to have sex.
Making or carrying out threats to hurt partner. Threatening to leave, commit suicide or report to police. Making partner drop charges. Making partner do illegal things.
Making partner afraid using looks, actions or gestures. Smashing things. Destroying property. Abusing pets. Displaying weapons.
Threatening to expose partner’s weaknesses or spread rumors. Telling malicious lies about partner.
Putting partner down. Making partner feel bad about herself/himself. Name calling. Making partner feel crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating partner. Making partner feel guilty.
Controlling what partner does, who partner sees or talks to, what partner reads, where partner goes. Limiting outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions.
click the dots to reveal definition
click dots to reveal definition
Both partners feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves and doing things. Arguments are nonviolent and productive. If one partner is hurt or mad (s)he still treats the other with respect.
Accept responsibility and acknowledge mistakes or harm caused. Admit to being wrong. Communicate openly and truthfully.
Make decisions about money together. Both partners benefit from financial decisions. The relationship does not interfere with one’s ability to work.
Make compromises equally. No one is expected to make compromises that inhibit their true self. Seek mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict together.
Support the other’s goals in life. Support positive growth and development as a person, together or apart. Encourage each other to exercise self-care and do things that make them happy.
Do not limit the other’s ability to live his/her life. Respect the right to his/her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions. Care about each other and do not intentionally hurt the other.
Listen without judgment. Be emotionally affirming, understanding, and value opinions. Value both partners’ time and individuality
Take care of each another and help manage life. Make decisions about the family and children together. The relationship makes life easier and more fun.
The individual is not the cause of his or her problem. With information and support, the individual can make the best decisions for generating a solution.
The process of empowerment enables one to gain power, authority and influence over oneself, within institutions or society. Empowerment can be the totality of the following or similar capabilities:
● Having decision-making power
● Having access to information and resources to make decisions aligned with personal goals and outcomes
● Having a range of options to make choices (not just yes/no, either/or)
● Having the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making
● Trusting oneﾕs ability to affect change for oneself and in the world
● Having the ability to build skills for improving one's personal or group power
● Being active in a growth process and self-evolution that is never ending and self-initiated
● Increasing one's positive sense of self and overcoming stigma
● Increasing one's ability to identify things that are comfortable and those which violate a sense of self or boundaries
Empowerment is a multi-dimensional, social process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. The process creates power to use those choices in oneﾕs own life, community and society, with individuals acting on issues that they define as important.
WISE works from the perspective that domestic and sexual violence is embedded within a social and historical context of oppression, and must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and empowerment. The services offered by WISE are designed to support empowerment by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities, based on the goals and objectives defined by each survivor. WISE recognizes that the systems victims are involved in are often confusing and perpetuate social imbalances of power. The organizational mission and services of WISE are rooted in the principles of the empowerment model.
The empowerment model arose from the feminist movement of the 1970s, which understands domestic and sexual violence within a social, cultural and historical framework of inequality between the sexes. Domestic or sexual violence perpetrated by men against women, children or other men is a result of this systemic power imbalance that serves to keep men in power. Empowerment is based on the belief that everything possible should be done to restore power to victims through validation, community and celebration of their strengths. Other interventions may consider the victim disordered, as if she were maladaptive or contributing to the violence perpetrated on her. The empowerment model instead works to identify and challenge the external conditions of the individual’s life, to promote resilience in the face of adversity, and to make the victim the primary player in discussions and decisions about her future. This is based in a social justice mission to work with an individual around her unique situation, and simultaneously dismantle the circumstances which allow for violence to happen.
Because domestic and sexual violence often remove one’s ability to exercise control over one’s life, the first goals of crisis intervention in the empowerment model is to validate what has happened to the individual and make obvious the innate power, and survival strategies that the individual has developed to stay alive. The empowerment model recognizes that violence is never the fault of the victim, and WISE works with people to exercise the individual’s power by providing a safe, supportive space to brainstorm, experiment, and gather information without judgment. The empowerment model aligns with the desires and expectations from Feder’s meta-analysis . It has also been consistently validated by evaluations conducted with survivors using WISE services. Because the empowerment model directly responds to the root cause of violence being perpetrated as a social system in addition to the immediate needs and long term goals of survivors, it is the most effective model for our work.
While it is not uncommon to experience or be exposed to domestic and sexual violence, the violent behaviors you grew up with were not OK. The impacts of domestic and sexual violence are vast and varied. It can be especially challenging for people who grew up with the threat of violence and never felt safe to talk about the abuse. What happened to you when you were young was not your fault. You deserve the space to process your experiences and the opportunity to live a life free from violence.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
15.5 million children in the US live in homes where an incident of intimate partner violence occurred at least once over the past year. For 7 million children, the violence at home was severe. 1
Only one quarter of domestic violence incidents that children witness are ever reported to the police. Less than 2% resulted in an arrest. “Children See Domestic Violence that Often Goes Unreported, Research Finds.” July 2014.
40-60% of men who abuse women also abuse the children in the home.2
In 2012 26% sexual abuse victims were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% sexual abuse victims were younger than 9 years.3
The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
In as many as 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse.4
WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call our crisis line (866) 348-WISE for immediate support.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF GROWING UP WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Not all children who are exposed to domestic violence are impacted in the same ways. Some children have more severe reactions than others. Being exposed to domestic violence includes not only seeing or hearing the violence, but also perceiving the violence and seeing the aftermath.5
Each state has different laws around children witnessing domestic violence.
In a home with domestic violence, “fear, instability and confusion replace the love, comfort and nurturing that children need.” 6
Children may feel they caused the violence or feel guilty for loving the abuser. Often children live in constant fear of violence.7 The violence you were subjected to or witnessed was not your fault or the abused parent’s fault. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. It is also OK to have loving feelings for the abuser and be angry about what they did. Whatever fleeting or lasting feelings you have are OK.
Violence is a learned behavior. Boys who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit violence towards their partners. Girls who witness domestic violence are more likely to be victimized as adults.8 Although violence is a learned behavior, it does not mean that one is destined to a life of violence. Norms can be unlearned. It is also not a justification for perpetrators to continue to abuse their loved ones. With support and information people can learn to have violence-free and healthy relationships.
Reactions to witnessing violence are varied. But some common symptoms are: guilt about the violence, sleep disturbances, headaches, stomach aches, concerns about individual safety and the safety of others, anxiety, aggressive behavior, difficulty concentrating, desire for revenge, coping behaviors that may be self-endangering (i.e., cutting, substance abuse), etc. (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health. “Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Supporting Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: What you might see and what you can do.” September 2011.)
Children who grow up with domestic violence may have impaired ability to concentrate and difficulty in completing school work.9 These behaviors are very similar to those of ADHD and can sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis.10
Studies have found that children show remarkable resilience! As their environment improves (i.e., being surrounded by positive, supportive and healthy relationships, protective adults, etc.), the affects they experience can decrease. (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health. “Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Supporting Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: What you might see and what you can do.” September 2011.)
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE?
People who perpetrate sexual violence against children or adults are exercising power and control over their victims. Perpetrators intentionally chose their victims and create an environment that gives them power over the victim.
Not all sexually abused children exhibit symptoms—some estimate that up to 40% of sexually abused children are asymptomatic; however, others experience serious and long-standing consequences. 11
About 85% of children who are sexually abused never tell, or delay telling, about the abuse.12 The abuser does a good job at making the victim unable to talk about the abuse through threats, coercion and manipulation. Victims of childhood sexual abuse are legally able to make reports as adults. The Statute of Limitations is different in every state
Find your state statute of limitations here.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse are not more likely to perpetrate sexual violence on others. 13
The perpetrator is likely to be male, and someone in the victim’s life who is viewed as a trustworthy person. 14 Our society has an inaccurate view of who sexual perpetrators are. This makes it hard for victims to understand why someone they know and love is hurting them, as well as hard for the community to believe that it is true.
You deserve to be in control of what happens to your body. You deserve to have relationships that are safe and respectful.
READ MORE ABOUT CHILDHOOD VIOLENCE
WISE Advocates are happy to support survivors in their education and career journeys. Call WISE to meet with an advocate and discuss job and school searches, resume writing and interview preparedness. The following resources may also be helpful;
PO Box 489 Montpelier, VT 05601
800-CCV-6686 (in VT) · 802-828-2800
1 College Drive Claremont NH 03743
603-542-7744 · Toll-Free (from NH & VT): 800-837-0658
Hanover, NH 03755
85 Mechanic St, Lebanon NH
603-448-2077 Hours: M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm
Provides residential and vocational support to people in Grafton County with developmental disabilities.
404 Washington Street
Claremont, NH 03743
603-543-3111 Hours: M-F 8am - 4:30pm
Full career services. Free to NH and VT residents.
220 Holiday Drive Suite A
White River Junction, VT 05001
802-295-8850 Hours: M-F 7:45am - 4:30pm
Provides career direction, training and education for VT residents who are disabled or meet other service criteria.
Big Yellow Taxi
Proudly serving the New England, Dartmouth College, and Lake Sunapee area since 1996.
The Current bus service, formally Connecticut River Transit, runs 15 commuter and local in-town buses and several para-transit and Dial-a-Ride buses in Vermont’s Windham and Windsor counties and into neighboring New Hampshire.
PO Box 1027
Wilder, VT 05088
802 728 3373 or 800 427 3553
STSI operates two parallel and complementary transportation systems. The Dial-a-Ride System takes elders and persons with disabilities, Medicaid-eligible residents and many other vulnerable populations to medical services, work, grocery stores and meal sites. The STSI Commuter Route System connects passengers to employment centers in White River Junction, Lebanon, Hanover. The 89er serves towns between Randolph and the Upper Valley and the River Route serves towns between Bradford and the Upper Valley.
Brown University, Dating Violence in LGBTQ CommunitiesCenter for Disease Control, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010, 2014GLADThrough strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocate & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expressions, HIV status, and sexual orientation.Love is RespectLoveisrespect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle. By combining our resources and capacity, we are reaching more people, building more healthy relationships and saving more lives.National Institute of JusticeThe National Institute of Justice — the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice — is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. NIJ provides objective and independent knowledge and tools to reduce crime and promote justice, particularly at the state and local levels.RAINNRape, Abuse & Incest National Network created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.The United States Department of JusticeTo enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.The White House1is2ManyNot Alone1in6.orgOur mission is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.Yes Means YesYes Means Yes is a groundbreaking new look at rape, edited by writer and activist Jaclyn Friedman andFeministing.com founder Jessica Valenti. Through the anthology — and now this blog — we’re trying to move beyond “no means no” to connect the dots between the shaming and co-option of female sexuality in our culture(s) and some of the ways rape is allowed and encouraged to function.Stalking Resource CenterIt is the mission of the Stalking Resource Center to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking. The Stalking Resource Center envisions a future in which the criminal justice systems and its many allied community partners will have the best tools to effectively collaborate and respond to stalking, improve victim safety and well-being, and hold offenders accountable.
Dial 211 from a NH phone to speak with someone about social services in New Hampshire.
M-F 9am - 12pm
M-F 1pm - 4pm (appointment only)
M-F 9am - 4pm
M-F 8am - 4pm (appointment only)
M-F 8am - 12pm (walk ins)
M-F 2pm - 4pm (appointment only)
M-Th 8am - 4:30pm
F 8am - 3:30 (leave a message)
NH Food Stamps Program
Claremont office: M-F 603-542-9544 or 800-982-1001
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
603-225-2050 or 800-578-2050
New Hampshire Family Assistance publications can be found here.
Dial 211 from a VT phone to speak with someone about social services in Vermont.
Economic Services, WRJ
Food Stamps, 3 Squares VT
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
Public Health Nurse, WRJ
VT Helpline/Homeless Outreach
Deaf Victims' Advocacy Services
If you do not have TTY, call VT Relay 711 and give the operator the number
60 Hanover St. Lebanon NH 603-448-4553
M-Sat. 10am - 5pm; Sun. 12pm - 5pm
River Point Plaza
Route 4, WRJ next to the NH-VT bridge
Route 5, WRJ (802) 280-4133
Rt. 4 W. Canaan NH 603-632-5331
M-Sat. 10am - 5pm; Sun. 12pm - 5pm
Methodist Church 106 Gates Street, WRJ VT 802 295-7091
W 1pm - 4pm; Sat. 10am - 1pm
2590 N. Hartland Rd, WRJ VT 802-295-6373
M-Sat. 8am - 4pm
7 Martin Drive, West Lebanon NH (behind WalMart) 603-298-8724
M-W 9am - 5pm; Th-F 9am - 7pm
Jill's Corner Closet
1178 Rt 4, Canaan NH 603-523-4373
M-Tues. 3pm - 8pm; W-F 10am - 8pm; Sat 10am - 5pm
FREE Community Dinners
Most function between 5-7pm, however contact location as times and days may change.
Monday: Canaan Senior Center NH; Methodist Church, WRJ
Tuesday: Sacred Heart Church, Lebanon NH
Wednesday: Methodist Church, WRJ; Methodist Church Vestry, Enfield NH
Thursday: Sacred Heart Church, Lebanon NH
Friday: Edgerton House, 16 School St Hanover NH
60 Hanover St, Lebanon
Emergency food pantry, Salvation Army food vouchers, gas vouchers.
14 Church St, Lebanon
Emergency food on weekends when LISTEN is closed
Claremont office: M-F 603-542-9544 or 800-982-1001
The Haven 802-295-6500
745 Hartford Ave, WRJ VT
Emergency food pantry.
4 Gilman Office Place, WRJ VT
Emergency food pantry.
Congregational Church Hartland, 802-436-2224
Emergency food pantry open Th. 10am - 2pm; Sat. 9am - 12pm
Town Office Thetford 802-785-2922
Emergency food pantry open M 6pm - 8pm, Tu/F 8am - 3pm.
Thetford Baptist Church 802-785-2050
St. Francis of Assisi Rectory Windsor, 802-674-2157
St. James Church Woodstock, 802-457-2145
WISE works to support families that have been affected by domestic violence. We recognize that children heal and thrive when they have strong relationships with non-abusive parents. We provide families information and resources about the effects of domestic violence on children and how to rebuild families after abuse.
WISE has a full time Domestic Violence Specialist co-located at the Department of Children, Youth and Families in New Hampshire to provide training and consultation for child protective service workers, and support families in which there is both domestic and child abuse.
WISE Advocates are mandated reporters under New Hampshire state law and are obligated to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Advocates can talk with you about what a report may mean, and can provide brainstorming around hypothetical situations if you have questions.
For more information about reporting child abuse and neglect visit:
NH Office of Child Support Enforcement
129 Pleasant St, Concord NH
VT Child Support Program
The Central Administrative OCS Office: Phone: (802) 769-2128. Fax: (802) 769-6429
Read our section on Growing up with Violence
Yoga at WISE is open to all women. The gentle classes are meant for relaxation. This is yoga for everyone: new to it, experienced, all bodies…just bring your body in comfy clothes and your breath. We have mats but feel free to bring one if you have a favorite. Please speak with an advocate if you are interested in doing yoga at WISE.
Gather to write as a means of discovering and exploring all the things that matter most to us. WISE Women Writing is a time to deepen our understanding of ourselves and others. This group is facilitated by Joni Cole. No previous writing experience is required. Please speak with an advocate if you are interested in the writing group at WISE.
Conversations for Change
Discussion, consciousness raising, planning for how we are going to change the world, and beyond...with tea and snacks. Join with us to end gender-based violence. Please speak with a WISE advocate if you would like to participate in Conversations for Change.
Help us end violence!
Bring us your best ideas and qualities!
Working towards immigrant integration in the Upper Valley through immigration Legal Services and Community Education and Networking.
US immigration law provides protection for undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crimes or who have suffered persecution before fleeing their home country. WANN offers free consultations to assess and individual’s eligibility for these humanitarian immigration statuses or for other benefits under the law. Representation, when appropriate, is low-fee or free, depending on the ability to pay.
WANN’s legal services are primarily in the following areas
Since 2011, WANN has helped organizations and individuals provide culturally relevant services in the Upper Valley, to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse population. WANN provides workshops for entities that have contact with vulnerable immigrants, such as: local medical centers and health clinics, public school English Language Learning educators, law enforcement, and social service providers.
Workshop topics can be designated to meet the needs of your organization.
Past trainings include
“I was being abused by my husband, and my work permit expired. I had saved some money to pay the rent, but he took it from me to buy drugs and beer. I could not even call the police when he hit me and stole from me because he said he would call immigration on me. WISE and WANN saved my life. Without them I would be suffering with no way out.”
- WANN Immigration Legal Services Client
“It has been such a great asset to have WANN in our community. Over the years we have benefited from educational outreach events for parents on immigration, legal rights, financial knowledge, and community-wise topics. We’ve been able to reach out to WANN for support when we know of a family in need of assistance with complicated immigration issues that they would not be able to overcome without WANN. With the growing diversity in the Upper Valley, I predict the value and need of WANN’s services in our community will continue to grow.”
-Educator of English Language Learners in the Upper Valley
WANN is a fiscally sponsored non-profit program and all contributions are made through WISE. Donations made by check can be made to WISE, with "WANN" in the notation line or online.
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Mail: PO Box 203 Lyme NH 03768
Program Center: 38 Bank St. Lebanon, NH 03766 • Fax: 603-448-2799 • Tel: 603-448-5922
©2015 WISE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law
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