Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAM Challenge 4

We have to remove the stigma around domestic violence. Many statistics show that 1 in 4 women will be abused in their lifetime. Despite this high number, abuse is still a taboo subject. We need to make domestic violence an issue that we can talk about openly so that victims and survivors won’t feel judged for experiencing abuse. We should make sure that anyone who reaches out for support is met with understanding and compassion.

This week’s theme is that information equals power. For DVAM Challenge #4, please share this image. You may right click it and save it to your computer to be shared electronically via email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr or more. You could also actually print it out and tape it to a mirror in your house, or pin it to a bulletin board at your church, local cafe, workplace, etc.

Please share this message. Promote the idea that domestic violence can happen to anyone, and that there is support available.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAM Challenge 3: Test Your Knowledge of Domestic Violence

How much do you know about domestic violence? Take our quiz below as your DVAM challenge #3.

DVAM challenge #3: Answer true or false to the statements below and then continue reading on to see how you did.

1. Domestic violence is not a problem in your community.

2. Couples counseling is recommended by The Hotline for abusive relationships.

3. Sometimes the victim provokes their partner into abusing them.

4. Yelling, putting down or belittling someone isn’t ever considered abuse.

5. On average, more than 3 women are murdered by their partners every day.

6. If the abuse was getting too bad, the victim would just leave.

7. The most dangerous time for a victim is often when their partner first lashes out.

8. Everyone deserves respect in a relationship.

9. If children aren’t being abused and don’t witness the abuse, they aren’t affected.

10. The cost of domestic violence is extremely high to society.

What do you think? How many are true and how many are false? Here’s the key:

1. False. Domestic violence happens in every community. Unfortunately many cases go unreported.

2. False. The Hotline does NOT recommend couple’s counseling when there is abuse in the relationship. It can be very dangerous to the partner being abused. An abuser may use what is said in therapy later against their partner. Individual counseling may be helpful but couple’s counseling is not recommended. Read more here.

3. False. Regardless of their actions, no one deserves to be physically, verbally or sexually abused.

4. False. Domestic violence is the pattern of behavior than an abuser uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. It can be physical, verbal or sexual.

5. True. Each year, domestic violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women. Furthermore, domestic violence results in nearly 600,000 injuries among men (CDC).

6. False. Many victims love their partners despite the abuse or feel as if they have no support system or resources outside of the relationship and so they feel as if they can’t leave. Furthermore, the period immediately after leaving an abusive relationship is extremely dangerous.

7. False. Domestic violence typically worsens over time. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a victim because their abusive partner feels like they are losing power and control. The abuser may escalate the abuse in order to regain that power and control.

8. True. Absolutely no one deserves to be abused and there is no excuse for being physically, verbally or sexually violent toward a partner.

9. False. Children are extremely perceptive. Even if they don’t see the abuse happening, they feel its effects.

10. True. Each year, domestic violence costs more than $5.8 billion dollars, with $4.1 billion of that amount being spent directly on medical and mental health services (NCADV).

How did you do? Interested in learning more about domestic violence? Check out our website for more information or give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAM Challenge 2: Information is Power

This week, we’ll be focusing on how information is a powerful tool for survivors, victims and advocates alike. By knowing more about domestic violence, we’ll be able to identify it when we see it in our homes and communities, and we will know what options are available for those involved.

During this week of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, think about what you know about this issue. What questions do you still have? Do you know where to find the answers?

Remember the power you have in sharing what you know to those around you. Online channels like email, Facebook, Twitter and more can be so impactful. You never know who in your network may need to know more about domestic violence.

DVAM Challenge 2: Post one of these messages below as your Facebook status or Tweet it out to your followers.  Don’t want to use social media? Then simply tell someone you love one of these facts below. 

– More than 1 in 3 women & 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner (CDC, 2010)

– Intimate Partner Violence can affect health in many ways. The longer the vio­lence goes on, the more serious the effects. (CDC, 2012)

– You have the right to a healthy relationship with a partner who treats you with respect.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Hotline Encourages Everyone to Get Involved and Help Raise Awareness During October for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Today welcomed October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as a chance for everyone  – victims, survivors, advocates, law enforcement, supporters and political leaders – to unite in our work to end abuse.

“We want the public to know The National Domestic Violence Hotline is the only national Hotline in the United States for victims of domestic violence and we are open 24-hours a day, every day for women, men, children and families in danger,” said Katie Ray-Jones, President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  “We also want to take this opportunity in October to raise awareness about The Hotline and get more people across the country involved in creating change.”

Throughout October, communities across the country will celebrate the tremendous progress victim advocates have made over the years, mourn for those whose lives were taken by domestic violence and connect with one another with a true sense of unity to end domestic violence.

We also want to empower everyone to get involved and help raise awareness about domestic violence.  We recognize the power that each one of us has in making a difference for someone. At The Hotline, every call is a chance for healing and change.

This year we’re launching a special DVAM campaign that EVERYONE can be involved in.  For 20 days in October, we’ve developed special challenges.  We want you to complete these challenges and share your achievement with us.  By taking our daily challenges, you’re saying that TODAY you are taking a step towards ending domestic violence.

We will be using a blog and our Facebook/Twitter accounts as we go through this month.  Every Friday starting on October 12, we will dedicate our blog to celebrating what our users are doing in their own communities.

One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime, and, on average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Will You Commit to Our DVAM Challenges?

October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a chance for everyone in the movement – victims, survivors, advocates, law enforcement, supporters and politicians – to unite in our work to end abuse.

Working to end domestic violence is a daunting task. There are times where it seems like we’re trying to achieve the impossible. How can we successfully empower everyone to have a healthy relationship? While our task can feel overwhelming at times, we keep going. That’s because we recognize the power that each one of us has in making a different for someone. At The Hotline, every call is a chance for healing and change.

This year we’re launching a special DVAM campaign that EVERYONE can be involved in. For 20 days in October, we’ve developed special challenges. We want you to complete these challenges and share your achievement with us. By taking our daily challenges, you’re saying that TODAY you are taking a step towards ending domestic violence.

We will be using this blog and our Facebook/Twitter accounts as we go through this month. Every Friday starting on October 12, we will dedicate our blog to celebrating what our users are doing in their own communities.

Please join us and make this October one of powerful change for you and all who work to end domestic violence.

CHALLENGE 1: Commit to our DVAM challenge. Do one of the following:

– Share a link to this blog post to someone via email or social media
– Share our challenge image (download here) and encourage your friends to join
– Declare boldy, “I am taking The Hotline DVAM   Challenge!” on Facebook or Twitter

PLEASE NOTE: If you are in an abusive relationship, please do not post anything publicly that might jeopardize your safety.

 

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Today on Katie Couric: Dating Abuse

Katie Couric’s talk show Katie is discussing dating abuse on today’s episode airing at 4 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Central.

The show will feature survivors of dating abuse and the family of Yeardley Love, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2010. To find your local time and channel to watch Katie, please click here. To learn more about the One Love Foundation in honor of Yeardley Love, please click here.

Here’s a preview of the show:

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Celebrates the 18th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and Calls for Bi-partisan Support for the Reauthorization of VAWA

Today celebrates the 18th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and asks Congress to support reauthorization of the landmark legislation.

The Hotline was created by the legislation and has helped millions of women, men and families since its creation. The Hotline receives more than 22,000 calls a month from victims of domestic violence and their families and friends.

“The Hotline is open 24-hours a day, every day and it is a life-line for women, men, children and families in danger and offers victims help and hope,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We are honored to have helped more than 2 million callers since The Hotline was created by the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA).”

United States House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith recently declared, “It is essential that programs like these are in place to protect victims not just from physical bruises but from the emotional and mental scars as well. Funding through VAWA has helped women escape abuse and rebuild their lives.”

Vice President Joe Biden today also praised the passage of the Violence Against Women Act saying it gives law enforcement and courts more tools to combat domestic violence and hold offenders accountable. “We created a national hotline to direct victims to life-saving assistance and since VAWA passed, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent,” said Biden.

VAWA represents our federal government’s coordinated community response to sexual assault and family violence services. Rape crisis centers, family violence centers, law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts all form a part of this response.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Know the Red Flags of Abuse

It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusers may seem absolutely perfect on the surface — as if they are the dream partner — in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call The Hotline to talk about what’s going on:

  • Embarrassing or putting you down
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you  with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
  • Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
  • Threatening to hurt or kill you
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

(Photo: “Red Flag” by Andy Wright)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Counseling for Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence is an extremely traumatizing experience and the emotional scars associated with this abuse can often outlast the physical impact.

Domestic violence survivors are at a high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or  stress-related mental health conditions. Survivors can have upsetting memories or flashbacks, fear or a sense of danger that they cannot overcome. They may feel numb or disconnected from the rest of the world (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health). Learning to cope with residual emotional pain and fears is essential to healing.

Breaking the isolation of domestic violence by seeking counseling and support from friends and family can help survivors to move forward. Counseling sessions provide a safe and confidential environment for survivors to express their feelings, thoughts and fears. Counselors are nonjudgmental third-party advisors who listen and can help survivors work through the things that they are experiencing.

Speaking with a trauma specialist can help survivors to deal with their remaining anxiety and find ways to relieve that stress. These specialists can help to process traumatic memories or experiences so that it is possible to move on. They can also aid survivors in learning to regulate their strong emotions like fear and anger.

Group counseling can also be beneficial. Attending a group session can allow survivors to connect with others who have been through similar situations. Connecting with these people can reduce the feeling of isolation often created by abusers. Other survivors can also offer advice on how they got through tough situations.

Overcoming a traumatic experience can be scary. It’s important that if you do decide to seek counseling, that you find a well-trained professional or group that you are comfortable with.  Often domestic violence programs offer individual counseling to survivors in their communities.  If that’s not a possibility, ask potential counselors about their experiences and strategies for supporting victims of domestic violence.

Please note: if you are still in an abusive relationship, please keep in mind that we don’t recommend attending couple’s counseling with your abuser. Here’s why.

(Photo by Joe Houghton)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Chad Johnson Arrested for Domestic Violence – A Lesson in Consequences

This week news broke that Chad Johnson, aka Ochocinco, was arrested for domestic violence charges on Saturday after allegedly headbutting his wife Evelyn Lozada in an argument.

The fallout from Saturday’s events have been significant. Not only was Johnson released from his contract with the Miami Dolphins, his firing was even filmed and aired for all of America to see on the HBO’s show, “Hard Knocks.” Lozada and Johnson had already filmed their own reality TV show called “Ev and Ocho” but following Saturday’s arrest, VH1 announced their decision to not air the show. Johnson has already lost endorsement deals as a result, and is likely to lose more in the coming months.

Lozada has since filled for divorce and issued a public statement, expressing her disappointment that Johnson had not accepted responsibility for his actions.

Johnson also released a statement, saying:

I would like to apologize to everyone for the recent events that have occurred. I would like to wish Evelyn well and will never say anything bad about her because I truly love her to death. I will continue to be positive and train hard for another opportunity in the NFL. To all the fans and supporters I have disappointed, you have my sincerest apologies. I will stay positive and get through this tough period in my life.  

This high profile situation reminds us that anyone, no matter age, race or financial status, can experience domestic violence. It can happen in any relationship. It causes us to reflect on the issue and explore how we understand domestic violence in our communities.

The consequences of Johnson’s behaviors have been heavily discussed in articles about the arrest. Within the span of a week, he lost his wife, his job, his reputation and more. This was a major reminder of what an abuser has to lose when he or she acts violently towards a partner. Abuse is always about power and control. Through Johnson exerting power over one person, he lost control over most other aspects of his life.

For Lozada, we wish healing and support. If you or someone you know experiences abuse, please remember that you can always call The Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

(Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Teen Mom Recap: Why Doesn’t April Just Leave?

photo credit: mtv.comSome people might watch this past episode of Teen Mom and wonder what is wrong with April. How can she not know if she is going to leave Butch or not? In our society, this is a pretty typical response to survivors who stay in relationships, and it actually shifts the blame to the victim for the abuse, and away from the person who was actually violent. If she would just leave, this wouldn’t happen, right? In this situation, whether April stays in the relationship or not, she doesn’t deserve to be attacked and hurt.

There are a few things going on that many people who make that judgment about survivors don’t take into account. Leaving an abusive relationship is an extremely dangerous time. Abusive partners often escalate their violent behavior when they feel their sense of power and control in the relationship is lessening.

There may be other reasons why leaving doesn’t seem possible at the moment, like not having financial resources to find a new home. Ending a relationship is a complex, emotional process in the best of circumstances. Even though Butch has been abusive and unsafe, April may still care about him and what to see him get help.

There may come a day when she knows for sure that walking away is the right decision for her, but it’s ok if it takes some time for her to figure out what she wants to do.

This excerpt from Advocacy Beyond Leaving by Jill Davies explains this process:

Victims are not masochists bent on suffering, nor are they living in a fantasy world. Victims do what we all do – deal with what life hands us. For some, remaining or leaving is a formal decision, a weighing of pros and cons. For others it is informal, simply coping with the current situation because it seems tolerable or there are no better options or alternatives. Most victims cope with the bad and hope for the better, living with the status quo, making the decisions they must, and doing what they can do to make things better along the way. Leaving is not a simple decision, nor one easily made.

Not knowing if you want to stay in or end an abusive relationship is perfectly natural. However, it’s very important to think about how you can stay as safe as possible while you’re trying to decide.

Think about what happens in your relationship: What can you do to be safe? Who can you talk to and ask for help from? What are the red flags that your partner will become more violent or dangerous? When do you know you have to leave or call the police in order to stay safe?

There are some risks that are often indications of potentially dangerous and lethal situations.  Some of the red flags that you may be in an extremely dangerous situation are:

  • If physical violence has gotten worse or happens more frequently in the last few months
  • If your partner has ever used a weapon or threatened you with a weapon
  • If your partner is violently jealous of you and who you talk to

(Campbell, et al, 2009, www.dangerassessment.org)

Remember, you can always talk to a Hotline advocate for support.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Teen Mom Features The Hotline

A recent episode of Teen Mom showed a family experiencing domestic violence. Teen parents Catelynn and Tyler have a unique situation. Catelynn’s mom April and Tyler’s dad Butch got married after Catelynn and Tyler started dating in middle school. Butch has been physically and emotionally abusive to April prior to this incident.

In the episode, April called Tyler to alert him to an incident that involved Butch assaulting her after suspecting that she was talking  to another man. Butch was arrested, and April told Tyler that she was unsure of their future together. Tyler and Catelynn were immediately concerned and rushed over to April to find out what happened.

Photo from mtv.com, Tyler at Catelynn from a previous episode

As the episode progressed, it became clear that the evening was incredibly violent, leaving April with bruises and pain. Butch had violated a “no contact” order in coming over to April’s home.

Despite the horrible details of the assault, April didn’t place all of the blame on Butch. She was quick to mention that Butch wasn’t himself because of drugs and alcohol. She told Tyler, “I really can’t say that I’m gonna leave him or anything like that because I really don’t know. He wasn’t there, dude, it wasn’t your dad.”

She also maintained hope that he will change, saying, “I honestly think if he’ll do his time, the drinking and the drugging is going to stop.”

Sadly, at The Hotline, we know that experiences like April’s are all too common. It’s not unusual for abusive partners to be extremely jealous, and accuse their partners of cheating, even when that is so far from the truth. We know that children and teens are dealing with the aftermath of abuse every day in their homes, just like Tyler and Catelynn.

April had a hard time deciding what to do in her relationship. An issue that complicated April’s decision-making process is Butch’s substance abuse. Again, this is an issue that is all too common in abusive relationships, and it makes it challenging to understand why someone becomes violent.

A common misconception is that using alcohol and drugs can make someone ‘lose control’ and hurt those around them. Even if Butch was able to get clean and sober, it’s likely that he would still be controlling and abusive. Alcohol and drug use can make abusive situations worse, but it doesn’t cause a non-abusive, non-controlling person to become violent.

Just as April said, it’s very likely that when Butch attacked her, he looked like a different person than the person she fell in love with. But, despite his drug use, Butch was still responsible for how he hurt April. Naturally, April wants to see Butch get the help that he needs so that she can be in a healthy, safe relationship with him, but he would need to accept responsibility for his substance abuse and his controlling and abusive behavior and be committed to getting help for both in order to change. Getting help for substance abuse and domestic violence would require a lot of personal accountability and determination.

When an abusive partner is using drugs or alcohol, there is an increased risk of severe physical violence. It’s really important to be aware of how the substance use affects their behavior. Do they become more aggressive or violent when they’re using or when they’re in withdrawal? This can help survivors know the risks of a situation and take steps to become safer in the moment.

If you have some concerns about similar issues happening in your relationship, you can always call The Hotline to talk. An advocate at The Hotline can help you think about what’s going on in your relationship, what the risks are to your safety and your children’s safety, and what you can do to stay safe.