I have been writing about vacations and fun, but want to address a far more serious and important topic, domestic violence.
According to Women Helping Women of Hamilton County*, domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, threatening or emotional force to frighten, intimidate and control an intimate partner. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that occurs over time. This abuse often escalates and may become worse with time.
Abusive partners use combinations of behavior to control a survivor. Even if you have never experienced physical harm by a partner, but are afraid and controlled by your partner’s actions (shouting, throwing things or threats), you are being abused.
This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
Are you aware that:
1 in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
1.3 million women are survivors of domestic violence each year.
85% of domestic violence survivors are women.
Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of abusive relationships.
Those are really harsh statistics. Because of the frequency of its occurrence, you may know someone who is currently in an abusive relationship, or it may be you. If so and you want to know more about abusive relationships, visit Beinggirl.com. The site has a series of articles about abuse that will be helpful no matter what your age. Having information will help you or someone you care about either escape or avoid that type of very unhealthy relationship.
Important to know in all of this is that it is not YOUR FAULT
Below is some further information from the Women Helping Women website that I found incredibly helpful in educating about domestic violence:
“Abused” describes what has happened to you – not who you are. This term tends to imply that someone in an abusive relationship is a victim, weak or helpless. The truth is that many people in abusive relationships have great inner strength and are often there for others, including children. No matter what a controlling or abusive partner tells you (“If you had done this right, I would not have hurt you”), being abused is not your fault- the abuser is responsible. Partner violence is not acceptable and it is not something you have to deal with alone. Whether you have limited finances, no family or friends to whom you can turn to for help, are afraid for your safety or simply think you could never make it “on your own,” there are agencies in your community who can help you.”
If you don’t know who those agencies are or where close help is, you can visit the website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline to get assistance in identifying an agency in your community: http://www.thehotline.org/ They also have a toll-free phone number should your computer be monitored: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
If you are not certain about your relationship and want to know more, Women Helping Women has a Domestic Violence quiz for you to take. If you answer yes to more then one answer, you may be in an abusive relationship.
I was a past president of the Board and a board member of Women Helping Women for 12 years and still have a strong commitment to that cause. Optimistically, we always hope that there will not be a need for organizations like Women Helping Women. Until then, thank goodness for organizations like Women Helping Women and sites like beinggirl.com, where there is key information and support for those who may need it.
*Women Helping Women serves Southwestern Ohio as a unique provider of crisis intervention and support services for direct and indirect survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking and takes a leading role in educating the community to promote awareness and help prevent these types of abuse. http://www.womenhelpingwomen.org/