October is associated with many things: fall, Halloween, candy corn, sweaters, football, breast cancer awareness. Lesser known is that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Talking about domestic violence may not be easy, but it is important. Why?
• On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, 15 calls per minute.
• 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner
• Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner
• On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. (statistics from NCADV.org)
Domestic violence takes many forms, such as physical/sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, financial abuse and harassment or stalking. Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But what they have in common is at the heart of the relationship is the abusive partner wanting to have power and control over their partner.
ABUSE IS NOT LOVE!
At the beginning of a relationship, individuals are not abusive right away, typically it is slow and subtle. But there are warning signs:
• Abusive in past relationships This is the #1 risk factor that a person is abusive. If they were abusive in a previous relationship, they most likely will be abusive in the next relationship too.
• Tells you that you can never do anything right
• Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
• Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
• Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
• Controls every penny spent in the household
• Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
• Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
• Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
• Prevents you from making your own decisions
• Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
• Prevents you from working or attending school
• Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
• Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
• Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
• Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
What can you do? Learn more about domestic violence to give resources and support to someone in an abusive relationship. Support your local domestic violence agency through volunteering or donations. Talk to your teenagers about healthy relationships.
IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP HEALTHY?
Being in a healthy relationship means:
Communicating: You talk openly about problems and listen to one another. You respect each other’s opinions.
Respectful: You value each other as you are.
Trusting: You believe what your partner has to say. You do not feel the need to “prove” each other’s trustworthiness.
Honest: You are honest with each other, but can still keep some things private.
Equal: You make decisions together and hold each other to the same standard.
Enjoying personal time: You enjoy spending time apart, alone or with others. You respect each other’s need for time apart.
Making mutual sexual choices: You talk openly about sexual and reproductive choices together. All partners willingly consent to sexual activity and can safely discuss what you are and are not comfortable with.
Economic/financial partners: You and your partner have equal say with regard to finances. All partners have access to the resources they need.
Engaging in supportive parenting: All partners are able to parent in a way they feel comfortable with. You communicate together about the needs of the child(ren) , as well as the needs of the parents.
To learn more about healthy relationships or how to help someone in an abusive relationship, contact me to schedule an appointment. Everyone deserves to be safe in their relationships and in their home.
For more information about domestic violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Love yourself, you deserve it!