Every single minute, an average of 20 people are being physically abused by an intimate partner in the United Sates, equating to more than 10 million men and women per year (NCADV https://ncadv.org/statistics). And, less than 1% of cases are reported to the police. Because October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we wanted to provide resources to help you or those close to you find relief should you find yourself in this situation.
Numbers aside, domestic violence has been a problem since the beginning of time, with little respite in our modern age. We see it in shows like “Game of Thrones”, a fiction portrayal of the past, yet many people often resonate with that sort of behavior – barbaric, animalistic, and full of fear and anger. What’s more, victims in such situations may have a hard time seeking help, for fear of being hurt, or left without a place to live or food to eat.
“Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse is about power and control. When a victim leaves, they are taking control and threatening the abusive partner’s power, which could cause the abusive partner to retaliate in very destructive ways.” – The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Is This Abuse?
According to the Hotline website, domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse or relationship abuse), is defined as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.”
Behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want to, are all elements of abuse. More specifically: sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation are all included.
Even if a partner is not physically harming his or her victim, if the victim feels fear and like they do not have a way out – this is defined as abuse.
How to Seek Help
If you or someone you love is in a dire situation, follow the steps below (Ms. Magazine):
- Do not alert your abuser you are planning to leave.
- Create a safety plan. Can you put away some money, clothes, documents and other necessities in case you need to leave? Find a place to stay and alert a couple of close family members or friends of what’s going on.
- Join a support group; even if you are not yet prepared to leave, you can discuss your situation with other survivors and counselors to help you.
- Get one-on-one help; many domestic violence centers offer free one-on-one counseling.
- Call the hotline if you need help (numbers provided below) Make sure to be mindful of where you’re calling from (so your abuser can’t see the call logs)
- Dial 911 in case of emergency
If you know a friend who is in a situation such as this, drop the judgment as to why they haven’t left. Fear, financial stress, and even manipulation may be at play. Offer up anything you can, and spread awareness to your community. If a friend is acting unusually strange, meek, anxious, and avoidant or depressed, sit down and have a chat. If you notice any physical marks or if your friend is defending their partner or avoiding topics, pry deeper. They may need you more than ever.
SAFEHOME - KS
24-hour hotline: 913-262-2868 (Toll-free: 1-888-432-4300)
Self Care Club is a proud supporter and philanthropic partner of SAFEHOME. SAFEHOME provides a healing atmosphere where survivors of domestic violence can gain inner strength, build self-esteem, explore options, and establish a life free of violence. Through SAFEHOME’s shelter and community services, approximately 8,000 individuals each year receive the support they need to lead healthy, independent lives. Contact SAFEHOME if you are a victim of domestic violence and live in the Kansas / Kansas City area, or if you'd like to support this mission, click here to make a donation.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.thehotline.org (also has an online chat option)
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (specific to children, teens, race, etc.)
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Sending love, healing, and self care,
The Self Care Club Team