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Domestic Violence or Abuse. Signs, Awareness, Help and Helpful Tips
Studies show that in the United States, a woman is abused, either beaten or assaulted every nine seconds whilst the Domestic Violence Awareness Project states that at least three women die daily as a result of domestic violence. Also startling is the organization’s projection that at least one in every four women and one in every thirteen men will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. These statistics emphasize the importance of October, 2011 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as celebrated since 1987.
Significance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
There are many groups and organizations working diligently to raise Domestic Violence awareness in our communities. It is alarming and sobering that most Domestic Violence cases go unreported as victims are afraid to seek assistance or are not aware of the help/services available. Education is power and for the abused, ignorance is not bliss but a path to becoming a statistic. When we consider numbers like ten million children witnessing abuse in some form annually or one in five teenage girls staying in a relationship because a boyfriend threatened self harm or violence, we recognize the importance of raising awareness with the youth of our nation. Domestic Violence affects every age group, class and race. See the statistics here. Another issue that makes awareness a critical matter is the lack of knowledge as to what exactly Abuse is as many believe abuse to be simply of a physical nature. When we become educated as to the many faces of abuse, we can better identify if abuse is taking place in our homes and if our friends, family members and/or loved ones are victims of abuse.
THE MANY FACES OF ABUSE/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE
You are being Abused if you answer yes to any of these questions.
Does your spouse or partner…..
Hit you, shove you, slap you, choke you?
Force you to have sexual intercourse?
Threaten to kill you or him/her self?
Threaten to kill your pets?
Intimidate you with guns, knives or any other weapons?
Prevent you from visiting family or friends?
Destroy your property?
Call you a bad parent, and threaten to take your children or harm them?
Control what you do, who you see?
Prevent you from going to school or working?
Look at you or act in a way that scares you?
Act like the abuse is all your fault, deny it ever happened or pretend it's not a problem?
Take your money, refuse to give you money or make you ask/beg for it?.
Make all the decisions?
Force you to drop the charges?
If you are a child and answer yes to any of the following questions, you are being abused.
Does your parent, relative, friend or stranger
Touch you inappropriately?
Make you touch any private parts of their body?
Force you to have sexual intercourse or tell you that you have to do it, to prove you love them?
Force you to have sexual relations with others?
Beat you, slap you, shove you, kick you?
Deny you food or water?
Remember to ALWAYS SAY NO !
Speak to a counselor at school if you believe you are being abused.
Call 911 if you are being abused.
Talk to a friend or your priest, pastor or teacher.
Domestic Violence: It’s Silence and Why Cases Go Unreported
The reasons why many cases go unreported range from fear of retaliation from the abuser, homelessness, shame, isolation and the hope many hold out that the abuser will change. For many, abuse is a way of life. The victim may have been abused as a child and as a result, has a tainted image of what love is, even believing it to be an acceptable way of life or a sign of love. A number of immigrants, abused by a partner who is a permanent resident or citizen, may remain silent because of fear of deportation if the abuser refuses to apply for legal immigration status on his/her behalf. Abusers have been known to use the victim’s lack of immigration status a tool of intimidation. The Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994 not only enhanced “investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women” but also has made it possible for abused immigrants to self petition for immigration benefits. Many Non-profit Organizations as Catholic Charities will assist the intended immigrant throughout the filing process. Many persons in an abusive relationship fear reaching out to friends and family fearing the repercussions should the abuser be confronted. Many suffer in silence. Some are fearful of using the computer, possibly being discovered in their search for information on domestic violence. Many websites offering resources and help for the abused now offer “quick escape” buttons that allows the one browsing for information a speedy exit should the abuser walk into the room. The Domestic Violence Hotline offers a wealth of information with their hotline at 1-866-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 TTY.
Tips to Remember
Domestic Violence or Abuse is NEVER OK.
You DO NOT DESERVE IT
NO ACTION EVER MAKES ABUSE THE RIGHT REACTION
Because you were ABUSED AS A CHILD does not make it ACCEPTABLE AS AN ADULT.
Abuse is NEVER an ACT OF LOVE.
LOVE DOES NOT HURT.
Abuse IS NOT ONLY PHYSICAL.
WORDS are NOT just WIND. WORDS HURT TOO.
HELP IS AVAILABLE: TALK, REACH OUT.
911 FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: IT’S A CRIME.
Are you now or have you ever been a victim of abuse?
© 2011 Michele McCallister