Domestic Violence is a Society Issue

Today, drug use and drug trafficking are the main topics of the news, but there is a darker less talked about oppression that is deep- rooted in our society. People don’t want to talk about it, but domestic violence is real, and it happens here.

Domestic violence is a complicated subject to discuss because there are many stereotypes and much misinformation surrounding it. In order to avoid grey areas, society tends to ignore the issue of domestic violence. Common hindrances to discussion include: believing abuse only happens to women, thinking it’s between the couple rendering bystander intervention futile, and believing that choosing sides is required to help.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and on behalf of the Buffalo Trace Women’s Crisis Center Judith Cooley, BTWCC’s marketing assistant, will work to demystify domestic violence through a month long four article mini-series in hopes to raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with discussing domestic violence. According to NCADV.org “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” It is likely that you have met a victim of domestic violence. So, let the conversation begin.

Domestic violence is a term that is currently transitioning to intimate partner violence in an effort transition from the old image of aggressors being primarily males and victims primarily females because that is not the case, especially with the increasing awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. Let’s start with the general definition, “domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.” according to the United States Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Domestic violence is something that can span any age range, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation or background. The trademark characteristic is the need of the perpetrator, abuser, to maintain a sense of control over his or her partner. Domestic violence has many types and can be categorized in these types: physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, economic, and stalking. Although this list is not exhaustive, it contains most types. Another form of domestic violence is dating violence. Just because you are new in a relationship or do not consider yourself in a “serious relationship” you could still be a victim of domestic violence, and there is help. Speakcdn.com reports that, “Nearly 20.9 percent of female high school students and 13.4 percent of male high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner, and 50 percent of the youth reporting dating violence and rape also reported attempting suicide.” This is a frightening statistic!

Because most people conjure images of physical abuse when they hear the term domestic violence, the remaining three articles will be covering emotional abuse, economic abuse and stalking. This is a difficult conversation but it needs to be had. The facts are: “one in three women and one in four men have been victim of some form of physical abuse in their life time. More than 20,000 domestic violence hotline calls are made daily nation wide. One in 15 kids are exposed to intimate partner violence. In one work year 8.0 million days of paid work are lost. Intimate partner violence costs exceed $8.3 billion a year.” Mentally and physically, victims can suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, STI’s and wealth of other health maladies. (all statistics were taken from NCADV.gov) Think about your loved one in these statistics. If you could change it for them wouldn’t you?

Buffalo Trace Women’s Crisis Center offers many services. As a nonprofit organization, we are able to provide all of these services for free to our victim-survivors: 24-hour Hotline and Crisis Intervention, Emergency Safe Shelter, Hospital Advocacy/Accompaniment, Counseling, Legal advocacy/Accompaniment, Multi-Cultural/Multi-Lingual Advocacy, Financial Literacy, Education and Support Groups, Pet Protection, Information and Referrals for other needs. We get our funding through state and federal grants, private foundations, fundraising, and community partnerships. We rely heavily on our community to help us support survivors. We cannot thank them enough for their support.

The mission of Buffalo Trace Women’s Crisis Center is to lead our community in the social change needed to end domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse. We can only do this by raising awareness, by acknowledging there is an issue, and by educating society on preventative measures to protect all members of our society. Just because domestic violence happen in the home doesn’t make it a home issue- it’s a society issue. Our shelter has been functioning at full capacity all summer long. In 2017 Kentucky provided 21,856 survivors with non-residential services and 4,803 survivors with emergency shelter and transitional housing through KCADV according to KCADV.org. So, if you thought domestic violence didn’t happen here, we ask you to think again. Please follow our mini-series for three more articles detailing the lesser known forms of domestic violence and how you can help change the tide.

If you are wondering how you can help a victim until she or he decides to reach out to an agency, The National Domestic Violence Hotline gives seven helpful tips. Each week we will share two tips. Today’s tips are: “1. Acknowledge that they are in a very difficult and scary situation, be supportive and listen. 2. Be non-judgmental.” Be the supporter who tells the victim that abuse is not her fault. Reassure her that you are there to listen and help if she needs it.

Until next week, survivors and supports alike, we leave you with this thought. “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” – Unknown

You can contact us 24/7 on our hotline: 1-800-928-6708. Our office number is 606-564-6708. Our office is located at 111 East Third Street, Maysville, Ky. 41056 open Monday – Friday 9 a.m – 5 p.m. We service Bracken, Fleming, Lewis, Mason, Robertson counties.