Domestic Violence Awareness Month
This year marks the 31st campaign year for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” held during October 1981. The original intent was to establish a nationwide connection of advocates who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon grew into an entire week that was devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national level before eventually becoming a nationally recognized, month-long campaign in 1987. The Day of Unity is still acknowledged the first Monday in October.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There is NO "typical victim." Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education levels, all economic levels, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities, and all lifestyles.
Victims of domestic violence do not bring violence upon themselves, they do not always lack self-confidence, nor are they just as abusive as the abuser. Violence in relationships occurs when one person feels entitled to power and control over their partner and chooses to use abuse to gain and maintain that control. In relationships where domestic violence exists, violence is not equal. Even if the victim fights back or instigates violence in an effort to diffuse a situation. There is always one person who is the primary, constant source of power, control, and abuse in the relationship.
Putting this issue into context, every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. At least one in every three women, in the entire world, has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.
One of the key strategies that Domestic Violence Awareness month touches on is helping couples to build healthy relationships. The professionals at the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) can provide ways and resources for couples to help sustain them as well as help them when relationships become challenging. FFSC has resources that are available to both victims and offenders of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help. If you feel that you or someone you know is dealing with a domestic violence issues, FFSC encourages you to take a moment to consider how the abuse affects victims.
The impact of abuse:
- Want the abuse to end, but not the relationship
- Feel isolated
- Feel depressed
- Feel helpless
- Be unaware of what services are available to help them
- Be embarrassed of their situation
- Fear judgement or stigmatization if their reveal the abuse
- Deny or minimize the abuse or make excuses for the abuser
- Still love their abuser
- Withdraw emotionally
- Distance themselves from family or friends
- Be impulsive or aggressive
- Feel financially dependent on their abuser
- Feel guilt related to the relationship
- Feel shame
- Have anxiety
- Have suicidal thoughts
- Abuse alcohol or drugs
- Be hopeful that their abuser will change and/or stop the abuse
- Have religious, cultural, or other beliefs that reinforce staying in the relationship
- Have no support from friends of family
- Fear cultural, community, or societal backlash that may hinder escape or support
- Feel like they have nowhere to go or no ability to get away
- Fear they will not be able to support themselves after they escape the abuser
- Have children in common with their abuser and fear for their safety if the victim leaves
- Have pets or other animals they don't want to leave
- Be distrustful of local law enforcement, courts, or other systems if the abuse is revealed
- Have had unsupportive experiences with friends, family, employers, law enforcement, courts, child protective services, etc. and believe they won't get help if they leave or fear retribution if they do (e.g. they fear losing custody of their children to the abuser)
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there is confidential help available. The team at FFSC is available to provide personalized, local assistance. They are also able to help explain your options and resources.
- NAS Lemoore FFSC Family Advocacy Program: (559) 998-4034.
- NAS Lemoore FFSC 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (559) 469-5061.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline online: http://www.thehotline.org/ They also have live chat available from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. Central time at: http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-live-chat/
Your FFSC onboard NAS Lemoore is always ready to help. I encourage you to reach out to its kind, caring and compassionate team if you feel that they can be of service. Please contact them if you or someone you know needs help. We should all watch out for each other and work to achieve and maintain respectful, safe and positive relationships.