Know it, report it, help prevent domestic violence
October marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic violence. Immigrants face unique issues in escaping abusive homes, including isolation, threats, and intimidation.
And while our society would have us believe that domestic violence only happens between partners of the opposite sex – by men, on women – statistics show that same-sex couples experience domestic violence at that same rate. LGBT couples actually face additional challenges in identifying and reporting abuse. It is important to know the signs of domestic violence. It is equally important to know what to do when you see it. KNOW IT.
Physical battering, sexual assault, emotional or psychological abuse, and financial abuse are the most common forms of domestic violence. Abuse of an intimate partner generally escalates over a period of time.
Abuse can also occur in non-intimate partner relationships within a household (i.e. elder or child abuse). From NCADV: Victims of abuse may experience punched walls, control of finances, lying, using children to manipulate a parent’s emotions, intimidation, isolation from family and friends, fear, shame, criticism, cuts, crying and afraid children, broken bones, confusion, forced sexual contact, screaming, jealousy and possessiveness, loss of self-esteem, coercion, slammed doors, abandonment, silent treatment, rape, destruction of personal property, unwanted touching, name calling, strangling, ripping, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, punching, stalking, scrapes, depression, sabotaging attendance at a job or school, brainwashing, violence to pets, pinching, deprivation of physical and economic resources, public humiliation, broken promises, prevention of seeking medical and dental care, ridicule, restraining, self-medication, forced tickling, threats to harm family and friends, threats to take away children, threats to harm animals, threats of being kicked out, threats of weapons, threats of being killed. Statistically, men are most often the perpetrators; they are 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers. Because of these statistics, violence perpetrated by women is sometimes overlooked – but women can be perpetrators, too.
Recent headlines have highlighted how domestic violence knows no boundaries. From athletes to judges to preachers to law enforcement officers – perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life. REPORT IT. Having a low rate of reports does not mean that a community is free of domestic violence. Only a fraction of the incidents of domestic violence are ever reported. Reporting domestic violence can help someone escape an abusive relationship – or even save a life.
To report domestic violence:
- Law Enforcement 9-1-1
- Pee Dee Coalition 24-hour crisis line 1-800-273-1820
- NCADV Hotline 1-800-799-7233 PREVENT IT.
Campaigns like Domestic Violence Awareness Month will keep the conversation about domestic violence going long after October and provide unique, creative opportunities for advocacy. If you are interested in having a representative from Pee Dee Coalition speak to your faith-based, social or civic organization, school or business, contact the center to schedule a presentation tailored to suit your needs.
Pee Dee Coalition also sponsors specific programs to address contributing factors to domestic violence as well as its impact. ROAR (Reducing Our Assault Risk) provides multiple classroom presentations on dating violence and sexual assault to middle, high school and college students across the region. Call 332-9299 or 669-4694.