Domestic Violence is happening all around us and it is essential that we all become aware and equip ourselves with the resources to help. Domestic Violence is about power and control. Today, 1 in 3 female murder victims and 1 in 20 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners during domestic violence disputes (1). 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence. An average of 20 people experiences intimate partner physical violence every minute in the United States, this is more than 10 million abuse victims annually(2). These statistics are staggering. Many of us have either been a victim or have known of or suspect abuse in the relationships of our friends and family members.
Anyone can become a victim in a domestic violence situation. It can happen in any relationship and it affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and any communities. While there may not have been many resources in the past, there are now many free services, and every call is confidential. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 20,000 calls (3).
Domestic violence behaviors vary from person to person.
These behaviors are diverse. Physical harm, fear tactics, verbal manipulation, or forcing a victim to behave in ways they would normally not be comfortable with are just some of the ways abuse is carried out. They can include physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.
In many cases, more than one of these forms of abuse are happening at one time. Many victims are fearful to leave a domestic violence situation for fear of worsening the abuse or passing possible abuse onto their children. Most abuse victims/survivors are torn down emotionally and feel that they are not worthy of a healthy relationship. The abuser plays on this weakness.
Children are always involved whether they are the ones being physically abused or not.
Five million children witness domestic violence each year in the US (4). Children from homes with violence are much more likely to experience significant psychological problems short- and long-term says the Childhood Domestic Violence Association. A child witnessed violence in 22% (nearly 1 in 4) of intimate partner violence cases that are filed in state courts each year (5).
Some of those children are also being physically abused and threatened along with the parent victim(s) and all are being psychologically abused in some way. We should also be aware that 30 to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household (6).
When a child is in the home with domestic violence abuse, they are being exposed to lifelong effects on their sub-conscious mind. Some of those children are also being physically abused and threatened along with the parent victim(s) and all are being psychologically abused in some way.
The statistics are staggering and these are only reported cases. BUT… you can make a difference in a child’s life. If a child comes to you with concerns, please listen and report it!
What do you do if you know someone that is being abused?
As always, the first step is acknowledging that no one should have to live with abuse and taking action to get out of that situation may not always be easy, but help is available. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse, so let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What will be most helpful is someone who will listen and believe them.
If you know someone that is in an abusive relationship, let them know that they are not alone, there is help and support out there. Let them know that the abuse is not their fault and that you are available to help if they need it, even it’s to simply make the confidential call with them.
You may want to help them develop a safety plan, whether they are choosing to stay, preparing to leave, or have already left.
There is HELP.
The good news is that there are many organizations like The HOTLINE.org, CrisisText Line, and our local Betty Griffin Center that provide free services to abuse survivors and victims. The Betty Griffin Center has local resources geared to help abuse victims get out of dangerous situations and on their way to living an abuse free life. Betty Griffin Center can also direct you to services in your area.
Teen Dating Abuse.
Would you know if your teen was in an abusive relationship? 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend (7). 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue (8). About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (9). If you feel there is something going on with your teen’s relationship talk about it with them, a trusted friend or call one of the hotlines listed.
Be aware of different types of abuse. Educate yourself and look for the signs (Source: The National Domestic Abuse Hotline).
- Their partner puts them down in front of other people.
- They are constantly worried about making their partner angry.
- They make excuses for their partner’s behavior.
- Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
- They have unexplained marks or injuries.
- They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family.
- They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality.
Teen dating abuse, spousal abuse, same-sex relationship abuse, and even human trafficking are just a few to name and they are happening right here in our own community. If you feel that you know someone that is in danger due to domestic violence or are in a domestic violence situation yourself, please reach out for help and call one of the abuser hotlines.
Abuse hotline calls are confidential and services are free to the victims/survivors. The Betty Griffin Center offers free services such as:
- Safe Shelter
- 24-Hour Help Line
- Sexual Assault Recovery
- Confidential Counseling
- Support Groups
- Peace Club
- Legal Assistance
- Community Education
- Rape Crisis Unit
- Court Advocacy
- Transitional Housing
- Community/Professional Education
- Thrift Shoppes
Please go to the Betty Griffin website for Octobers Domestic Violence Events and free services offered.
How can you help?
Another way to help these victims/survivors is to donate your once loved handbag to Helping Handbags, USA Inc., Non- Profit.
This organization takes donations for amazing, once loved handbags, and necessities to fill the bags. Donations are given directly to the women in these shelters. By doing this, you are able to contribute to these women who are beginning their journeys towards a healthy self-perception and taking inspired action to get on their way to living the life that they desire, free of abuse. The look on their faces of hope when they receive these handbags is priceless. There is so much love that goes into this process and the process of all of the involved organizations.
If you or your organization would like to get involved with donations or volunteering with Helping Handbags, USA please email Cathlene Miner. ([email protected])