Commentary - Help stop the cycle of abuseOctober is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The question is, what should we be aware of?
By Jenna Payne, crime victim advocate for Someplace Safe of Douglas County
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The question is, what should we be aware of?
Accept and acknowledge that Domestic Violence happens in our community. Physical and verbal abuse is occurring in our neighborhoods, it’s happenings to friends and family. Domestic abuse happens in all racial, social and economic groups. And if you think it’s contained within the private household, think again.
Young children who are witnesses to acts of verbal and physical abuse in the home are often targets, as well as witnesses. Abuse is a cycle that keeps rotating and has been in effect for hundreds of years. Violence is not intrinsically in our nature as human beings, it is a learned behavior. When children witness violence at home, they are more likely to become abusers or a victim to an abuser. Children who live in violent homes often act out verbally or physically at school or at day care.
Like ripples in water, it continues to spread into our community. Three out of four Americans personally know someone who has been or is being physically abused by a partner. That’s 74 percent.
If you think that this only pertains to couples living under the same roof, 1 in 5 teens report that they have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. This is not just happening behind closed doors in someone’s home. It is happening to the teens in our community at school or at parties. Teens and adults can be victims of intimate partner abuse.
The truth is:
--1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
--Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
--Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes.
--Verbal and emotional abuse is domestic abuse.
--Thirty to 60 percent of perpetrators of domestic violence also abuse children in the household.
--The cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $1.4 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
Domestic Violence is a serious issue that can lead to psychological trauma, severe injury and death. Help stop the cycle of abuse and support the victims of domestic violence. If you would like to volunteer or have questions of your own, please visit our website at www.someplacesafe.info or call our office at (320) 762-1995.