Every day, one in three women die as a result of domestic violence.
Scary number, isn’t it? Here’s another scary one: three out of four women know someone who is affected by domestic violence. That means that you probably know someone who is affected in some way.
The National Coalition of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”
Domestic violence (DV) is a scary reality for many men and women in the country. It is an important topic to discuss. Women especially, need to talk openly about domestic violence. Tell your Gal Pals – whether it’s your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, niece, cousin or neighbor – to face domestic violence, share their opinions and experiences and show support for survivors.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some tips for people who want to help a friend or family member:
Don’t be afraid to let him or her know that you are concerned for their safety. Help your friend or family member recognize the abuse. Tell him or her you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help them recognize that what is happening is not “normal” and that they deserve a healthy, non-violent relationship.
Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. He or she may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize his or her decisions or try to guilt them. He or she will need your support even more during those times.
Encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with him or her to talk to family and friends. If he or she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.
If you need help getting a conversation started with a friend or loved one, visit ClickToEmpower.org for easy ways start the conversation, check out resources for survivors or read inspirational survivor stories. This website is a wonderful resource, and even has information on local DV coalitions in your area.
How can you help right now?
For each person who “likes” the Click To Empower! Facebook page, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000). Click here to go to the Facebook page.
The Allstate Foundation will donate another $1 if you take the pledge to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence. As part of the pledge, your photo will be added to the “Faces of Support” gallery to show survivors that they aren’t facing domestic violence alone.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call: THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233
I wrote this blog post while participating in The Allstate Foundation’s Tell a Gal Pal blogging program with TwitterMoms, making me eligible to get an interview with Cheryl Burke. For more information on how you can participate, click here.