This month is National Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness month, and I wanted to share a little information and resources. Even with the rising number of DV events, flyers, and campaign information, some still have a limited understanding of the depth of this topic. The National Domestic Violence Hotline shares definitions, resources, and other helpful information (and graphics) that promote education, awareness, and safety for community use.
Shelly was an outgoing girl in college; she had everything going for her. She was a generally happy person. She had pretty good grades and had developed a great system to balance her schoolwork and extracurricular activities. Shelly had been eyeing this fantastic guy. He was attractive, seemed nice, and they took classes together. She was intrigued by his views, shared in classes, and loved that he had fun while excelling at school. After eyeing each other for weeks, she decided to ask him out. They dated for a few months. Let’s call the guy Vaughn. Shelly worked part-time, and she loved showering Vaughn with gifts, in the beginning. As they settled into their relationship, Shelly began to change. They had their first argument, and Shelly started talking down to Vaughn, calling him names, and demeaning him. Vaughn tried to tell her how she made him feel, and she told him she would work on it. They would make up, and Shelly said it wouldn’t happen again. A few weeks would pass, and she would begin complaining about him spending time with his friends. He would try to reason with her, but there was no reasoning. She would accuse him of cheating on her and demand that he stay. “If you love me, you would stay with me. Your friends will be there.” If Vaughn left, he knew what was coming when he returned. Shelly graduated from putting him down, to isolating him from friends and family. Finally, she advanced to physical abuse, slapping and punching him when he said the wrong thing. Yes, I know everyone reading would leave right? NO! There is someone (man, woman, boy, or girl) stuck in a situation just like this. Unsure or afraid of what to do.
It is more common than you think to feel the love and caring of a person who seems like a dream but suddenly, you’re in the middle of a nightmare. So, many people are made to feel crazy about events. Their significant other making them feel as if they have dates, times, and conversations mixed up. Others face challenges with isolation from family, friends, and the things they once enjoyed. Still, others endure and still face verbal and physical abuse. Some have even lost their lives. So, how do what do next?
Many people assume that domestic violence is only a concern for women. Wrong! The issues surrounding domestic violence do not discriminate. Whether you’re old or young, black, white, brown, purple, or yellow, you could potentially be affected. The importance of knowing what DV looks like is the goal of the awareness effort. So, what does it look like? The National Domestic Violence Hotline defined DV as behaviors that may involve physical, mental, or emotional harm. So, it’s not just about physical acts of violence. This means it could include intimidation and fear tactics, any attempts to deprive someone of doing what they want or keeping money away from someone. Now, if you still haven’t guessed it, DV is about the perpetrator gaining and maintaining power and control over the victim. I have included some resources at the bottom for you to view on your own.
The story was just a spin on some of the definitions found on domestic violence. It is interesting to consider the idea that jealousy, verbal put-downs, and attempts to make a person feel bad about spending time with other friends and loved ones remain a reality for so many people. I have heard people say, that will never be me only to find themselves trapped the web of physical and verbal assault. There is nothing scarier than being in a situation that makes you feel stuck and out of options. So, let’s get educated and become aware of the risks.