“Your relationship should be a safe haven not a battle field.

The world is hard enough already.”

For 30 years October has been recognized nationally as domestic violence awareness month per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The goal is to unite advocates across the nation, who work towards an end for violence against women and their children. Domestic violence is a part of a systematic cycle to gain and maintain power and control. This includes: physical violence, sexual violence, financial violence, and emotional abuse.

Domestic violence is a common occurrence. It does not discriminate, regardless of age, financial status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Domestic violence can lead to physical injury, psychological trauma, and financial stress and in extreme cases, death. The upsetting physical, emotional, and financial consequences of domestic violence can influence generations and last a lifetime.

It is impossible to pinpoint an abuser, often an abusers may initially appear fun and ideal; however, over time they show more violent and controlling behaviors. Warning signs one can look for are aggressive or degrading behavior or irregular temperaments, animal abuse, and drug or alcohol abuse.

Domestic violence can be immediate, irregular or build up over time. Abusers may wait days, months, or years before showing their violent and controlling behaviors. Abuse could potentially start with actions that are easy to downplay or dismiss, these actions could be name-calling, threats, and possessiveness, creating isolation or distrust. An abuser may claim that their actions were out of love and apologize, reinforcing the cycle.

What advocates must remember is that domestic violence does not always present with physical abuse. Emotional, psychological and financial abuse are just as dangerous as physical violence. The lack of physical violence does not suggest the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim.

Domestic violence isn’t always over when the victim seeks help, attempts to end the relationship, or escapes from the abuser. Frequently, it increases the violence, because the abuser senses there is a loss of power and control over the victim. Victim blaming is not uncommon in our society “why doesn’t the person just leave?” Sometimes it isn’t a choice, but a matter of safety. Abusers often stalk, harass, threaten, and try to control the victim after the victim leaves.

Victims are often in the most danger for their safety right after leaving the relationship or after seeking help: 1/5 of homicide victims with restraining orders are murdered within two days of obtaining the order; 1/3 victims are murdered within the first month.

During the month of October we want to inspire individuals to listen, support and encourage each other. We may not always have physical or financial resources to offer, but we are never short on compassion. Sometimes it only takes one person who believes in a victim, to make all the difference in their story.  It’s a priceless resource we can all give, be the one who believes during Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Editor’s Note: This post’s content was gathered from The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCADV is the voice of victims and survivors. [They] are the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. [They] do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change. Visit them here: https://ncadv.org/

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