While October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I believe this topic should be highlighted every day of the year, as domestic violence is too prevalent in our society.
Here are some shocking statistics:
- Studies show that 20 to 30 percent of American women are physically abused by a partner, at least once in their lifetimes.
- Each year, 1.3 million women and more than 800,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner.
- More than 200,000 women are raped by an intimate partner each year.
- Studies have found that in addition to more general relationship problems, families of veterans with PTSD have more family violence, more physical and verbal aggression, and more instances of violence against a partner. (This info is from The National Center for PTSD)
Where can you go for help if you are involved with an abusive partner, if you are a senior citizen, or a child who’s being abused by a family member?
While going to the police seems to be the obvious choice, many victims are reluctant to take this option. Consider these other sources.
Here are several organizations online:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.ndvh.org) You can also reach their hotline at: 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-SAFE)
- Safe Horizon (www.safehorizon.org) 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) This site offers advice on how to leave an abusive relationship and provides a virtual tour of a domestic violence shelter to help you decide whether moving into a shelter is the right option for you.
If you are being stalked by your abuser:
- Safe Horizon also offers valuable info about steps you can take if you’re being stalked.
- The Stalking Resource Center is provided by the National Center for Victims of Crime, at www.ncvc.org/src
- Your local battered women’s shelter. Look in your local phone directory under “Crisis Intervention” or “Domestic Violence Information.”
- Your local Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services Agency.
- A place of worship
- Your doctor
- A teacher or school counselor, if you’re a minor.
Note: Much of this info was provided in Chapter 7 of the “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies Book” by Dr. Mark Goulston.
Reaching out for help may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it also may be the very thing that saves your own life, or the lives of your loved ones. As the saying goes, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”