Domestic violence can be physical, verbal, emotional, economic or sexual. The abuser may be your husband, wife, domestic partner, parent, child or any other household or family member. It's wrong, and it's being tackled by STOP Domestic Violence, a program of Behavioral Health Services North, the Franklin County District Attorney's Office and the Franklin County Intimate Partner Violence Task Force.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as proclaimed by President Obama on Oct. 1. Here's something you may not be aware of: On average, more than three women and one man are killed by their intimate partners in this country every day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief on Intimate Partner Violence. While this is a scary statistic, there was a time when we weren't as aware of the problem and didn't even know where to turn to seek help. At least today we have more laws and resources to protect the victims; however, there needs to be more education, awareness and ease in finding help to save more people from this destructive behavior.
Are you or is anyone you know affected by domestic violence? Many have experienced or witnessed the signs in others but dismissed it, thinking it was an isolated incident and not a growing pattern. One of the common misunderstandings of domestic violence is that it not only includes physical abuse but also sexual, emotional or economic abuse.
Signs to be aware of are if your partner wants to control everything, yells, calls you names or makes threats of destroying your belongings. If you experience shoving, hitting or threats of hurting the children or pets, then this is a serious sign that needs to be reported immediately. Domestic violence is a crime, and it tends to escalate in frequency and severity if safety precautions are not taken.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. While women account for 85 percent of the victims, men, too, are victims, making up 15 percent. As growing problem, we can hopefully encourage the community to help heighten awareness to intervene and stop domestic violence.
To honor survivors and victims of domestic violence, there will be a candlelight vigil and guest speakers from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at Arsenal Green at 270 East Main Street, Malone. While that's a long way for many Tri-Lakers to go, it's good to know that people at the Franklin County level are working hard to deal with this difficult reality.