Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but many people don’t know exactly what domestic violence is. Domestic violence is defined as “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, psychological violence and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies. However, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.
Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is only a fraction of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma and, in severe cases, even death.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence in a Relationship
- Telling victims that they can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
- Accusing the victim of cheating
- Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Dictating how victims dress, wear their hair, etc.
- Stalking victims or monitoring their every move (in person or via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or their phone)
- Telling victims that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill or take away their children
- Threatening to hurt or kill victims’ friends, loved ones or pets
- Intimidating victims with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring victims to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
- Destroying victims’ property
If you, or anyone else you know, is in a relationship where they are being physically, mentally or emotionally abused, please seek help or convince the other person to seek help. There are a number of free resources available that can help keep victims safe.
For resources and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, visit Student Victim Assistance at 75 Piedmont Avenue N.E. (Citizens Trust Building), Suite 239, or call 404-413-1965.
Adapted from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
For anonymous, confidential help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.