be aware of domestic violence

be aware of domestic violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, first recognized in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a day to connect advocates across the country. It’s a time to focus on increasing awareness, prevention, and intervention. Why? In the United States:

  • Over 1 in 3 women has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
  • Half of all women and men have experienced psychological abuse or aggression by a partner, most before the age of 25.
  • One in 3 adolescents, and one quarter of high school girls are victimsof physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse by a dating partner.
  • More than 3 women are killed every day by a spouse.
  • Nearly 50% of men who abuse women are abusive toward their own children or children living with them. 

The signs of abuse may not be apparent - in fact, 80% of victims do not present with physical injury. There are many ways an abuser can use power and control, including emotional abuse (verbal, psychological, and economic), academic abuse (preventing or interrupting studying, belittling academic focus),spiritual abuse (ridiculing or shaming one’s religion, practices, or beliefs), andtechnological abuse (cyberbullying and cyberstalking, controlling a person’s online accounts, monitoring a person’s location via GPS) leave silent scars. 

How can you help? If you notice behaviors in a peer that could indicate something is wrong, follow your instincts and try to talk with them – confidentially and in a private place. You can pass along A Psychotherapist Shares 9 Subtle Signs of Relationship Abuse. If they are open to talking, listen and refer them to a resource or hotline. For a teen, listen, believe what they are telling you, talk about the behaviors (not the abuser), and decide on next steps together. 

Chrysalis After-School programs focus on safe and healthy relationships. Five 2019 Chrysalis grant partners deliver on our key priority of safety (freedom from violence, unsafe and unhealthy living conditions, and homelessness):

Children and Families of Iowa: services for families experiencing domestic violence, mental health problems, and substance abuse.

Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center: assistance for individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and violent crime.

Hawthorn Hill-New Directions Shelteremergency shelter, affordable long-term housing, and additional services for families with children.

Iowa Safe Schools: specialized services and advocacy for LGBTQ youth experiencing bullying, dating violence, or sexual assault.

Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa: shelter, crisis stabilization, counseling, and mental health support for children from birth through age 17.

No matter why it happens, abuse is not okay, and it’s never justified. Spread the word.