Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if I’m in a domestic violence situation?
A: Domestic violence takes many forms – physical, psychological, economic, sexual, emotional, and spiritual. The abuser may engage in violent and controlling behaviors such as physical assault, sexual abuse, rape, threats, intimidation, harassment or humiliation. Abusers may repeatedly belittle their partners or voice constant unreasonable criticism. Some abusers exert economic control over their victims by withholding money and access to financial resources. Victims often experience feelings of deprivation and isolation. If you feel like any of these things are happening to you, you are in a domestic violence relationship.
Q: What should I do if I feel like I’m in danger?
A: Reach out for help. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. If not in immediate danger, call our 24-hour Crisis Line at 828-894-2340 for help.
Q: Do you promise confidentiality?
A: Absolutely. All services are strictly confidential.
Q: Is Steps to HOPE just an emergency shelter?
A: No, while we provide emergency, temporary shelter to victims escaping domestic violence and sexual assault situations, we also offer an array of other programs to help men, women and children rebuild their lives. Our services are free (*excluding DVIP (Domestic Violence Intervention Program) and confidential.
Q: Why doesn't the victim just leave?
A: There are many reasons why a victim of domestic violence does not "just leave." While every victim is different and has their own story and journey, many of the reasons stay in a toxic relationship are oftentimes the same, and include one or more of the following:
- Fear - Abusers often threaten over and over that they will hurt the victim, their children, a pet, a family member/ friend or themselves. A victim may stay in the relationship because they are scared of what the abuser will do if they leave.
- Low self-esteem - When an abuser calls their partner names, puts them down and plays mind games it can make the victim feel bad about themselves. Many times victims believe that the abuse is their fault or that they deserve the abuse.
- Finances - Victims may not leave because they are scared that they will not have enough money to support themselves - a fear that often gets worse if they have children.
- Children - It is very common for a victim to stay with an abusive partner because they do not want to "break up" their family and are afraid that it might be hard on their children if they leave. Victims may be afraid that the abuser will take the children away or that they might hurt the children if s/he is not there to protect them.
- Control - Victims often mistakenly think that they can control their partner's abusive behavior by doing exactly what s/he wants and by doing everything perfectly. But the only people who can control the violence and the abuse are the abusers themselves.
- Hope for change - Abusers often promise that they will change and that the abuse will not happen again. Many victims want to believe this is true, and they hope that the abuse will end and things will get better.
- Pressure from friends and family - Friends and family of a victim may not be supportive. Victims may not be believed, told that the abuse is their fault or that all relationships have bad times and that s/he should try harder. Friends and family may also get angry because the victim stays with the abuser or has left and gone back to the abuser so many times. Plus, friends and family may be scared about their own safety - what will happen if the victim stays at my home, etc.
- Isolation - Many abusers isolate their victim from his/her friends and family in order to gain more control. By the time the victim decides they want to leave, s/he may feel like they have no one to turn to and nowhere to go.
Q: Do you provide help to men?
A: Yes! We are here to help all victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault and we do not discriminate.
Q: How can I help?
A: Monetary and in-kind donations are greatly appreciated at Steps to HOPE and helps us continue to provide confidential support to every contact who needs us by making a donation today. Your gift is a gift of hope.