Domestic Violence October Awareness

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*this article contains language about sexual and domestic violence and abuse*

October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month since 1987, making 2021 it’s 34th year acknowledged. Domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence) is often covered up and we don’t ever see all of what’s actually happening. Even though this topic is hard to talk about, it’s important that it is not forgotten. There are so many people that face abuse from their partners everyday and do not realize until it’s too late. It’s important to bring attention to the topic of abuse because if there’s even just one more person who knows the signs that could be enough to get someone or yourself out of an abusive relationship and save a life. We should do our best to listen to survivors and take them seriously. Listening to someone’s story means that we are taking huge steps in accepting each other’s pasts no matter what they are.  We must also take people seriously when they are brave enough to speak out. According to Sexual Assault Attorney, Jessica Pride in the span of 2005-2016 “582,000 non-fatal domestic violence incidents went unreported to the police each year.” Most cases go unreported because they do not want to get others involved and say that it was “of a personal nature”.

What is Domestic Violence?

“Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically.” (NCADV) Contrary to popular belief domestic abuse happens to both men and women, in Vermont 39.2% of women and 30.9% of men experience some kind of physical violence, rape and/or stalking in their lifetimes all via an intimate partner. (NCADV-Vermont) In 2020 half of the homicides in the state of Vermont were caused by domestic violence and half of those included children. In Vermont 65% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 96% of the victims of these crimes are female(NCADV).

Where is help?

You can always find help in your community via your parents, teachers, doctors, or online. At thehotline.org there is 24/7/365 confidential help, you can always call, live chat, or text. Here you can also identify abuse, plan for safety, support others, find local resources, and get involved. There is even a Vermont specific hotline, vtnetwork.org, where you can get help or help create a violence free Vermont.  There are even hotlines specially for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, LGBTQ+ or in need of legal help.

How Can I Recognize Abuse?

Every abusive relationship is different, much like how every person is different. According the the National Domestic Abuse Hotline some signs to watch for are: 

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time 

      spent away from them.

  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.
  • Abuse of children or animals

💜💜The one thing to remember is, if you are a victim it is never your fault and 💜💜 there is help