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What do you know about domestic violence?

Until you and your children are secreted away to safety in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on your back, the issue of domestic violence may not bring you face-to-face with the realities: the fear, the trauma that follows victims throughout their lifetime, or until they work their way through it all.

If you have never experienced domestic violence, you are fortunate because one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, according to national statistics that are shared by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. That’s about 28,800 persons each 24-hour day. During that same period of time, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines across the country. Rape, stalking, homicide, economic impact, physical and mental impact, and the effects of domestic violence on children, all are part of the 2021 awareness campaign, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What happens when children experience, actually witness, their mothers being battered by the men they are with, a brutal beating or death at the hands of their abuser. What about the moments when the abuse cycle is heating up and the woman and her children recognize the signs as the pressure builds, and then explodes? Who can they call for help? Do they have a support system? Where can they go to feel safe again? What concepts do those children form that they carry into adulthood, into their own relationships?

— Only 34 percent of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

— 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.

And if you think the victims of abuse are the only persons at risk of harm from their abusers, a study reports that 20 percent of homicides related to domestic violence are “family members, friends, someone who tried to intervene, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.”

What would you do if your intimate partner beat, burned or strangled you? At what point would you fear for your life, fear that your partner would hurt or kill you or someone you care about because of you? Would you be afraid to leave? To ask for help? Would you believe that if you stay you can keep everyone safe?

The most dangerous time for a victim is when (s)he decides to leave. Men who have killed their partners have admitted they did it because of a “threat of separation or actual separation.” A victim stays because she is sure he will carry out his threats … against her, against their children, against pets, and friends – anyone he connects to her who might be helping her.

“If I leave, I will have to go far away to keep a safe distance and I’ll have to watch over my shoulder the rest of my life, as long as he is alive.”

“My worst fear is being homeless, sleeping under a bridge.”

“How will I provide for my children, for myself?”

“How do you break promises to God?”

“When he gets his head on straight everything will get better again.”

“He said if he had to eliminate a problem, he could do it without leaving any evidence to link him.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can learn more about why victims may stay in the relationship and how society influences a situation at www.ncadv.org/why-do-victims-stay.

Are you a victim? Or are you uncertain. “We get along until he gets upset and has to let off steam. He loves me.” He can’t love anyone until he loves himself in the right ways.

In Columbiana County help is within reach. Christina House helps people dealing with domestic abuse and can be reached at 330-420-0036. Also available is the anonymous and confidential Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787o-3224 (TTY). The helpline is available 24/7.

Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through the challenges we face. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

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