October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As much as the information and awareness spread throughout the month can be helpful, tere are still so many instances of domestic every year. Four in 10 people experience at least one form of coercive control by a partner or significant other in their lifetime. It can take years in an abusive relationship for people to even realize that they are being abused. So, what can you do if you suspect that someone you know or love is being abused?
Some of the warning signs of domestic violence include:
- Extreme jealousy;
- A bad temper;
- Verbal abuse;
- Controlling behavior;
- Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex;
- Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens;
- Controls all the finances;
- Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair;
- Control of what the victim wears and how they act;
- Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly; and
- Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others.
If you see some of these signs, that person may need help. But what if that person is in denial that what they are experiencing is domestic violence or if they are not ready to leave?
These are some things that you can do for people who just aren’t ready.
- Being patient with them. Often it can be frustrating, but people need time.
- Secondly, it is important to actively listen education about what is happening.
- Third, attempt to problem solve with them, and identify things they can do to increase their safety. Also, problem solving roadblocks may have them feeling trapped in the situation, such as children, pets, housing, and income. These factors are things that people must consider when leaving an abusive situation.
- Lastly, look up and provide resources to the person in the safest way possible. Some resources include us here at Spectrum Health and Human Services, The Erie County Domestic Violence Hotline at 716-884-6000, National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233, Haven House Shelter Hotline: (716) 884-6000, and many more. Contact the New York State Office of the Prevention of Domestic Violence https://opdv.ny.gov/ or Phone: (800) 942-6906/Text: (844) 997-2121 for additional resources.
Remember domestic violence is never okay and there is help available.