October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Domestic violence is a very real issue that affects thousands of Americans each day, but is often an issue that flies under the radar. According to national statistics, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Additionally, 24 Americans per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — that's more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. (DVH, 2019)
Many people are not aware of what domestic violence actually entails. For example, you might picture someone who is being "abused" as an extremely withdrawn woman with bruises under her collar. But, what about that extremely smiley secretary that seems so happy every day, but is secretly being stalked and berated by an ex-boyfriend? Domestic violence manifests in many different forms and affects individuals from all differing cultures, socioeconomic statuses, and walks of life.
So what constitutes domestic violence?
Domestic violence is more than just hitting and kicking. According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, "violence" actually encompasses any behavior that physically harms, arises fear, and/or prevents a partner from doing what they wish or forces them to behave in ways they do not want. (DVH, 2019)
Acts of domestic violence (DV) might include physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation.
Do you think you're in a partnership with domestic violence? Check yourself! Does your partner:
- Tell you that you can never do anything right
- Show extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keep you or discourage you from seeing friends or family members
- Insult, demean or shame you with put-downs
- Control every penny spent in the household
- Take your money or refuse to give you money for necessary expenses
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you
- Control who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Prevent you from making your own decisions
- Tell you that you are a bad parent or threaten to harm or take away your children
- Prevent you from attending work or school
- Destroy your property or threaten to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually that you’re not comfortable with
- Pressure you to use drugs or alcohol
Do you believe you are in a partnership with domestic violence? THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE.
Reach out to a trusted friend or counselor, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, seek out community resources, and make a safety plan to protect yourself.
What is Safety Planning?
Safety planning is an essential part of escaping the cycle of domestic violence. A proper safety plan should include steps for preparing to leave, when you leave, and after leaving the domestic violence situation.
Tips for Safety Planning:
- Keep evidence of any abuse with a journal - include specific dates, details, and photos of any physical injuries
- Tell someone you trust what is happening to you - both for moral and legal support if you need it in the future
- Know where you can go to get help (doctor's office, counselor, friend's house)
- Plan and identify a safe space to go, especially if you have children - choose a location unknown to your abuser
- Set money aside in case you need to "start over" in a new location or new home
- Research local resources, laws, and legal representation - contact your local shelter to have an emergency back-up plan for housing
- Update others on your status! Don't be afraid to involve others in your situation - there is no shame in asking for help
Do you or someone you know need help safety planning or escaping a domestic violence situation? We've got your back. Give us a call today and schedule an appointment. Let's work through this together.
(702) 930 - 9383