October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and is a time that should be used to give a voice to domestic violence survivors and draw attention to the signs of domestic violence. Any person, at any age, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, race, or religion can be affected by domestic abuse. Domestic violence can be found in every community and often the signs go unnoticed.
According to the United Nations, domestic abuse is “a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.” Domestic abuse can happen between married couples, couples living together, or couples who are dating.
According to a study done by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, in the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. 1/3 of women and 1/4 of men have been domestically abused by their partners. These statistics are startling, but they illustrate the prevalence of domestic violence in virtually every community.
It is important to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and dating violence and report them to the appropriate authorities. ACUPD would recommend students take this quiz to evaluate the health of their relationships:
Asking yourself many of the questions in the quiz can help identify whether or not you are being abused in your relationship. If you feel that you are a victim of domestic abuse or dating violence you should talk to a trusted friend or your RA/RD, and report it the police.
Abusers often will isolate their victims from their friends and family making it difficult for victims to recognize they are even being abused or to seek help. It is critical for men and women in these situations to seek safety and support.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, know that it is not your fault and you are not alone. Often friends, family and the police will be able to provide the support you need, but if you need further assistance, the Noah Project of Abilene can assist you with mental health needs, legal needs and escaping from abusive living situations. Their crisis hotline can be reached at 325-676-7107.