Submitted by Julie Hyde, Washington State Department of Health
Since 1987, October has been the month to raise awareness of domestic violence and observe its victims. Domestic violence is a pattern of cruel behavior where one person uses abuse to control another. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and psychological; it can occur between partners, relatives, and even divorcees and ex-partners. One statistic states at least one in four women and one in nine men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, and domestic violence accounts for about 15% of all violent crimes in the U.S.
Domestic violence was already an epidemic before COVID-19, but the health crisis has caused a tremendous spike in incidents of abuse. Even as lockdown restrictions are lifted, the abuse will not simply end. It remains a critical time for survivors, and greater awareness, education, and bystander intervention are desperately needed. This October, join us in activating bystanders and sharing information that can help those who are experiencing violence during this unprecedented time.
“This is unlike any other time, and I admit it, I am afraid. But my fear cannot be compared to that of people who live in abusive homes. In my 17 years working with domestic violence victims, never have I felt so terrified for those who could now face increased intensity and frequency of abuse.” ~ Pamela Zaballa, NO MORE Global Executive Director (entire article https://nomore.org/listening-from-home/)
We are capable of making a change by informing others and providing resources.
SIGNS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Power and Control Wheel – signs and signals of an abusive relationship:
- Isolation: This is when your partner controls what you do or whom you meet. The perpetrators use jealousy to justify their heinous actions.
- Peer Pressure: When your partner threatens to expose your weakness. They may also spread rumors about you.
- Emotional Blackmail: This is one of the most common abusive actions. It’s when your companion makes you feel bad about yourself for no reason. It includes name-calling and blaming you for their wrongdoings.
- Using Social Status: It happens when they treat you like a servant or slave. Basically, entitled brats demeaning you and taking away your self-esteem.
- Intimidation: Making you fear them through gestures, actions, or looks. It may also include destroying your things, abusing your pets, and damaging your lifestyle.
- Threats: Did your partner ever threaten to leave or commit suicide? Oh yeah, it’s also a form of domestic violence.
- Sexual Coercion: Getting you drunk or drugged to have sex. Threatening to take your children away just because you said ‘No’ to sex.
- Denial of Abuse: When your companion denies their abusive behavior and in turn blames you for it.
The Equality Wheel – (the good stuff) signs of a healthy relationship:
- Non-threatening Behavior: Talking and acting in such a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe. It helps you express yourself and talk about any issues you may have.
- Negotiation: Your partner acts rationally and looks for a common ground to resolve your conflicts without any fuss.
- Shared Responsibility: When your partner accepts to share the work among you. Also, they like to make common decisions together.
- Economic Partnership: You and your partner take all the financial decisions together. While doing so, you also make sure that it benefits both of you.
- Respect: Honors your personal space and listens to you without any type of judgmental remarks.
- Accountability and Honesty: Never lies to you or manipulates you. Accepts their mistakes and discusses them with you.
How to get Help
If you recognize one or more of these things in your relationship, please get help. Contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline, call, chat, or text, 24 hours everyday, 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY)
Resource guide and overview: https://domesticviolence.org/
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence – https://wscadv.org/get-help-now/
National Resource Center for Domestic Violence – https://nrcdv.org/
Domestic Violence Awareness Project – https://www.dvawareness.org/
Domestic Violence Awareness Month PSA – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1e42rxgjVE
Heart-to-Heart Conversation – My DV Survivor Story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5skI1_cgL3M