Domestic violence continues to be a widespread issue that must end!
Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” Many people think of the physical side of domestic abuse, but emotional and verbal abuse are both domestic violence. As a result, the physical side is placed in more importance.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This originated from the “Day of Unity” that started in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. There are three key themes of the month:
- mourning victims of domestic abuse
- celebrating survivors
- connecting people who work to end domestic abuse
This, unfortunately, continues to be a huge problem all over the United States. Some statistics from NCADV to put the seriousness of the issue are:
- 474 gun related domestic abuse fatalities this year
- 10 million people a year are victims of physical abuse from an intimate partner
- Hotlines receive 20,000 calls per day
- 20% of women in the US are victims of rape
However, it’s not always easy to notice the signs of an abusive relationship. Seeing the signs is sometimes very difficult, especially when it’s not physical. For this reason, it’s important to educate people about what abuse actually is. It’s also very important to not discount anyone’s experiences with abuse.
Abuse is still abuse even if:
- The situations seem minor in comparison to others’ experiences
- It doesn’t happen regularly
- There hasn’t been any physical violence
Abuse is abuse, regardless of whether it’s physical or emotional! The stereotypes surrounding abuse must end. Because of these stereotypes, life threatening situations aren’t taken seriously. Women make up 85% of domestic abuse victims. Domestic abuse is an all too familiar norm and as a consequence, lives are in danger.
Awareness is necessary for ending domestic violence!
Not only should awareness focus on identification of the issue, but also identification of reasons why victims stay. It’s not easy to leave a situation that you’ve grown accustomed to and is considered normal. For this reason, law enforcement should place more importance in helping victims of abuse.
Growing up with abusive people in your life makes the abuse a norm and also “acceptable.” Because of this, many abuse victims feel trapped in the cycle of abuse. As a result, they face a greater risk. Many abusers are good at disguising their abusive behavior, which also makes abuse difficult to identify. Some important characteristics of abusers to recognize are:
- The need for dominance
- Desire to humiliate the victim
- Isolation of the victim
- Making threats to the victim
- Intimidation of the victim
- Denying the abuse and then placing the blame on the victim
Because it’s not always easy to recognize this behavior, victims of abuse must have resources available to them. Some organizations that provide resources to victims of domestic violence (with hotline numbers) are:
- Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence; 404-688-9436
- Partnership Against Domestic Violence; 1-800-621-4673
- National Domestic Violence Hotline; 1-800-799-7233*
- National Sexual Assault Hotline; 1-800-656-4673
- Love is Respect; 1-866-331-9474*
*These organizations also provide an online chat for victims.
***If you or someone you know is the experiencing domestic violence, please reach out to services that can provide you aid.***
About the Author
Kathryn Pitts is a Political Science major at Georgia State University, pursuing a career in the non-profit sector. She is aiming to work with refugees, specifically women and children, and women’s rights on a global scale. She is passionate about volunteer work and strives to help others every day. Kathryn also enjoys playing with her dog and hiking on weekends off.
Image Source: Transgender Law Center