Shh. Do NOT look at that poor woman with bruises who is limping. Do NOT ask her what happened.
Keep it in the closet where no one will help, even though we know her partner is using her for a punching bag. Silent fear rules this woman's life — when will he become enraged for no apparent reason and hit me again?
This is the face of domestic violence and how it occurs. Some 20 years ago the Violence Against Women Act was passed at the federal level. Now thankfully there is more awareness and more than one way to help the unfortunate victims of domestic abuse which include not only women, but men and children.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 74 percent of us personally know of someone close to us — a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker or a family member — who has been a victim of domestic abuse.
Have you ever gotten a knock on the door in the wee hours of the morning with a panicky woman with two young children in their pajamas and shoeless asking for refuge to escape a violent partner? It happens in small, rural areas and in large city suburban neighborhoods. Most often the victim asks that law enforcement or a safe house not be contacted, and then the pattern repeats itself over and over.
One in four women and one in seven men will suffer physical violence from a partner in their lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
Each and every day three women lose their lives in this country as a result of domestic violence.
Here is an alarming statistic — approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
Boys who witness domestic violence as a child are twice as likely to abuse their partners and children when they become adults. Thirty to 60 percent of perpetrators of intimate-partner violence also abuse children in the household. Witnessing violence between one's parents is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
The cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, of which $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health services.
In Colorado there were 14,123 domestic violence criminal cases filed in the Colorado county courts in 2006. Almost half of all murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner. The vast majority of these victims are female.
There are campaigns in many states this month which include the purple purse campaign where purple purses are handed out to legislators and others to build awareness. There are candlelight vigils, walks and runs dedicated to building awareness. One college campus had a campaign of T-shirts which were hung on a clothes line where students were encouraged to express their stories about being a victim or assert their need for respect and non-violence in loving relationships.
The only thing that stops the intimidation, stalking and hitting is for people close to the victims to find a way to stand by them and encourage them to escape the abusive pattern.
In Delta County one resource is Tri-County Resource Center, 874-4941. The 24-hour crisis line can be reached at 874-4941.
The victim assistance program is a unit in the Delta County Sheriff's Office. Assistance is available for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence at 874-2007.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE /800-799-7233 and 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides crisis intervention and referrals to local services and shelters for victims of partner or spousal abuse. English and Spanish speaking advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is staffed by trained volunteers who are ready to connect people with emergency help in their own communities, including emergency services and shelters.
The staff can also provide information and referrals for a variety of non-emergency services, including counseling for adults and children and assistance in reporting abuse. They have an extensive database of domestic violence treatment providers in all U.S. states and territories. Many staff members speak languages besides English, and they have 24-hour access to translators for approximately 150 languages. This is a great resource for anyone — man, woman or child — who is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence or abuse, or who suspects that someone they know is being abused.blog comments powered by Disqus