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SEPTEMBER 15th, 2010

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”

“.....A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation
when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a
loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members.”
President Barack Obama

Domestic violence is nasty business. Since domestic violence incidents occur every twelve seconds in America and 1.3 million women (representing between 91% - 95% of all documented cases) are abused each year, it has a devastating impact upon families, neighborhoods, businesses and our economy.

Domestic violence knows no boundaries; neither socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, age, nor education. All women are at risk and should be aware of some clues that often precede abusive behavior, exhibited by a person who:

  • Grew up in an abusive family, where violence was deemed “normal” behavior.

  • Uses force to solve problems; a fighter/tough guy.

  • Is quick- tempered. overreacts to life’s occasional problems and frustrations, punches walls and throws things when upset.

  • Abuses alcohol and/or drugs. Violence is never caused by alcohol or drug use; these are 2 separate problems.  But there is a strong link between violence and drug abuse and abusers try to use it as an excuse for their behavior.

  • Is jealous of your other relationships and tries to isolate you; calls you frequently to check on your whereabouts.

  • Talks of getting even with those who anger him; has access to guns and/or knives.

  • Has extreme mood swings from being kind to being cruel; as though he was 2 different people.

  • Embarrasses or makes fun of you in front of friends or family.

  • Puts down your accomplishments or goals.

  • Treats you roughly; grabs, pushes, pinches, shoves or hits you.

Hoping will not make this problem go away. Abusers do not “grow out” of this behavior, if left unchecked. In fact, episodes of battering events escalate with the passing of time as does the severity. Abusers control their victims by using emotional, economical, physical and physiological approaches. Often fear and hopelessness force the victim into submission and/or depression; which in no way ends the abuse. This problem requires professional help.

It is tempting to accuse a battered woman of being a fool or coward for not leaving her abusive partner. Unfortunately, that is an unkind assessment and very wrong. Women don’t leave because they are frightened and often lack the wherewithal to find a safe haven in which to support themselves and/or their children. And more importantly, facts suggest that more women are killed by their partners AFTER they leave the relationship than at any other time.

Tough laws have been passed to address Domestic Violence but the battle is far from being won. We must collectively unify our efforts to promote safe, respectful and equitable relationships, increase victims’ access to support systems and help the survivors of abuse in later life.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please call the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office at 607-746-2336 or Safe Against Violence at 1-866-457-7233 or 746-6278 (both are 24-hour hot lines.) We will start the process of providing help.

If you are not a victim of domestic violence, please remain vigilant and compassionate.