October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. According to a CDC survey 20 Americans experience intimate partner physical abuse every minute in the United States. This equates to approximately 10,000 victims each year, and these are just the numbers of reported cases. However, we know there are thousands of silent stories that go untold and are not reported upon each year.
Unless experienced, to adequately explain the fear and shame that can surround those that find themselves in the position of living in these conditions from the person that they thought loved them can be difficult. When found in this position the opposing emotions of loyalty, shame, and self-preservation can compete in a way that makes clear thinking incredibly difficult. Additionally, for partners that have children and/or shared finances together the ability to leave and find safety is not always an easy path. Furthermore, Domestic Violence is not always physical, and the comprehension of the resulting impacts of emotional, sexual, economic, and mental abuse are sometimes not as widely accepted. Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that surpasses boundaries of socioeconomic lines, race, sexual orientation, and/or gender. It permeates into our society at every level, and the resulting damages remain imprinted on the generations that remain.
If you know of someone that is experiencing Domestic Violence the first thing you can do is be a safe place for them to be able to share their story. When you make yourself available as a safe harbor you may need to approach with the understanding that they need a listening ear, but may also not yet be ready to leave their situation. This will require having composure to offer the victims unconditional support as they work through the feelings of finding an appropriate solution.
Secondly, you can provide them access to resources. Emerge Center is the largest domestic abuse shelter in Southern Arizona and can be reached at www.emergecenter.org.
Bio-One of Tucson advocates for the education and awareness of Domestic Violence in our community as we see the unfortunate circumstances that can result. We specialize in crime scene and trauma clean up, and have held the hands of those that have been affected in these situations. We encourage all of our Tucson community to be a voice to end Domestic Violence, and to stand in solidarity with the victims as a safe haven of support.