Let’s break the cycle! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a perfect time to have conversations with your friends, family, and co-workers to raise awareness.
Domestic Violence, also known as Intimate Partner Violence, is not always physical or shows a lot of evidence, it can be any threatening behavior or abuse between one another. Signs of IPV are sometimes hard to see from the outside, that is why it is important to get educated on the topic. It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but listening to people you care about and recognizing red flags is a first step. If you witness the below warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, please take them very seriously. Survivors and co-survivors of Intimate Partner Violence or Sexual Violence can call our 24/7 Shelter Hotline at 330-374-1111 or our Rape Crisis Emotional Support 24/7 Hotline at 330-434-7273 to receive resources and services as well as just to talk about a situation.
People who are being abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious even when the partner is not around
- Go above and beyond to please their partner
- Go along with everything their partner says and does or cancels plans to be with their partner instead of a loved one/friend
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness or make excuses for those behaviors
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends
- Rarely go out in public without their partner
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
- Be forced to have a job, or forced to not be able to have one
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
- Be detached or withdrawn, or the opposite: laughing, crying, angry, etc.
Survivors and co-survivors all react differently to trauma and crisis and are all going through different battles. A reaction might seem unexpected, but can be a common response to a traumatic event. Talking to one of our Crisis Intervention Specialists or Direct Service Advocates can be educational, and help to normalize the experience.
The cycle of violence in domestic abuse can be broken! Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse with yourself or others.
Speaking up can be listening to the survivor and believing them, helping them set up safe words with their support system, teaching them tech safety, hiding a to-go bag for them in a safe place, providing them resources from their community, and more. Meeting the survivor or co-survivor where they are at, believing their story, and not pressuring them to leave/ get help if they are not ready can support them more than you know.
We can help when they are ready. We perform safety planning for individuals trying to get out of their relationship or want to stay safe, we have specialized trauma informed case management, and more available 24/7/365.