According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the nationwide recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been occuring in the month of October since 1987. This annual time of acknowledgment serves as “a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness.” There are many ways that you can support domestic violence victims and survivors, and we’ll be reviewing these resources all month long.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that is used to gain control over a relationship partner. It can also be called “intimate partner violence.” Although many may think of a romantic relationship in this situation, victims of domestic violence can include children, relatives or household members. Domestic abuse can include physical or sexual assault, or threats and emotional manipulation, and ANYONE can become a victim of domestic violence. Even if assault or physical abuse occurs only on occasion, the fear of future attacks can control a victim’s life in a number of ways, including anxiety, depression, PTSD and more.
Statistics of domestic violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that on average, more than 10 million men and women are physically abused by an intimate partner. In a single day, there are typically more than 20,000 phone calls made to U.S. domestic violence hotlines. Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced violence, stalking or fearfulness of an intimate partner, and in Indiana specifically, that number is 42.5% of women and 27.9% of men. Studies have also suggested that there is a direct relationship between domestic violence and depression or suicidal behavior.
Signs of abuse to watch for
It may seem hard to believe, but anyone can be an abuser, even someone you wouldn’t suspect. One study referenced by the NCADV found that “90% of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home.” Abusers are looking for control in a domestic violence relationship, and seek out ways to manipulate or gaslight their victim(s) to achieve this control.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, some warning signs to keep an eye out for can include: extreme jealousy or possessiveness, a bad temper, blaming the victim for bad things that happen, controlling finances, embarrassing or demeaning victim(s) in front or others or alone, and harassment at work/school or keeping them from attending.
How to get help
If you are experiencing domestic violence, we encourage you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Their website at thehotline.org also has a live chat option, or you can text START to 88788. This hotline is free, anonymous and available 24/7/365. In some cases, it may be difficult financially or emotionally to leave an abuser. Helping some identify a plan for safety, or providing assistance to someone in need can truly save lives.
At Healthy365, our Support Navigators are available with a confidential listening ear. Our resources include financial assistance, finding new housing and connecting with mental health professionals to deal with the effects of PTSD from domestic violence and abuse. If you have a need in Hancock County, you can call our team at 317-468-4231 or visit the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G. Getting help in a domestic violence situation can be hard, but remember that you have done nothing wrong, and there are people who are ready to support you.