October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence is one of the most common ways women suffer at the hands of men. It is a topic less openly discussed as domestic violence victims often have safety concerns that keep them from sharing publicly. The #MeToo movement has sparked more conversation and the National Domestic Violence hotline in 2018 reported a 30% spike in calls and other forms of contact quite possibly due to the confidential nature of discussing a history of or current domestic violence. In sharing that one has been a victim/survivor of domestic abuse it not only identifies them and their story but also exposes the other person as the abuser. Often many choose to not speak about the abuse due to victim blaming as the abuse may happen over many months or years and the victims are often asked the question “why didn’t you leave?” Blaming the victim vs holding the abuser accountable is another reason why many chose to not speak up.
While domestic violence may conjure up different pictures from reach life and movies, one form of domestic violence I want to highlight is dating violence. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is actually in February but as one form of Domestic Violence I wanted to write about it during Domestic October. One in three young women and girls are victims of dating violence. According to the website ‘Love Is Respect. Org’ dating violence is very common. Stats from the site include:
It is also stated that long term effects of dating violence may include:
Domestic Violence takes many forms and effects adults and youth. I have included at the end of this blog some resources for our readers to explore for more information. What is important to take away from this is the need for supportive, positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults, to model healthy relationships, to identify risk factors and to address possible dating violence behaviors no matter how insignificant they seem. One third of dating violence victims share their experience with a peer or adult; that does not mean that one third receive support or get help. Although this statistic seems appalling, in a culture where victims are blamed for their abuse or criticized for coming out it is not surprising.
If you are a victim of dating violence or another form of domestic violence please tell a trusted adult, friend, police officer, mental health clinician or medical provider. You may also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 7-800-799-7233 or explore resources and information at www.thehotline.org.