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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Special to the Enterprise

October 16, 2013

Every 15 seconds someone is a victim of domestic violence.


In 28 percent of all relationships, someone is a victim of domestic violence. It’s the kind of pain repeated and forgiven over and over. One in four women and about one in 10 men are raped or physically assaulted by their spouse, partner or dating partner in their lifetime. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s a good time to consider those around you who may live in fear.


“If local Domestic Violence Shelters did not exist,” said Tina Johnson, SAFE House Program Coordinator, “the consequences for victims would be dire. They could face homelessness, serious losses including loss of their children, actions taken in desperation, or continued abuse or death. The more members of our community who publicly support ending domestic violence, the greater reach we have to get in touch with victims and their families, and hopefully encourage abusers to get the help they need.”


In Tennessee alone, there are 85,000 victims each year. Join Kingsport’s SAFE House Domestic Violence Shelter during October and for just one day wear purple clothing or a ribbon for Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help end the cycle of violence. The FBI recently reported that Tennessee has the highest violent crime rate in the nation.


To join the campaign, contact SAFE House through 2-1-1 and sign up your school, organization, business, industry, community agency or service provider for the Go Purple Campaign. SAFE House will provide ribbons and a poster for your event. All they ask is a photo of participants to post on social media.


In addition to demonstrating support for advocates and victims, displaying purple ribbons all over a community expresses a strong message that there is no place for domestic violence in homes, neighborhoods, schools or workplaces.


For more than 30 years, SAFE House has offered a lifesaving support through its confidential emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis line, transportation services, counseling, support, court advocacy, and education to domestic violence victims and their dependent children.


SAFE House services prepare victims and their children to live independent and violence free lives including individualized case planning and referral to community resources and follow-up support once a family is no longer in the shelter. In fiscal year 2012-13, Frontier Health’s SAFE House had 136 new clients and served more than 12,400 victims of domestic violence since opening.


SAFE House’s vision is to convey the message that together, we can end the cycle of violence by preventing it BEFORE it starts and interrupting the cycle BEFORE it’s too late.


POTENTIAL DOMESTIC


VIOLENCE OVERVIEW


Is this abuse? The person you date checks your cell phone or email without permission. They constantly put you down, are extremely jealous or insecure or have an explosive temper. They isolate you from family or friends, make false accusations or physically hurt you in any way. They’re possessive or tell you what to do. These destructive behaviors are signs of an unhealthy relationship and domestic violence.


Batterers may appear as loving spouses and great providers. Friends and family are often shocked when they notice abusive behavior. Batterers begin with verbal abuse, chipping away at the victim’s self-esteem. They seem to control the speech, clothing or actions of those around them although they can be charming with likable personalities.


Batterers disguise criticism as “concern.” They’re jealous or possessive and critical of music, work, friends and family. They question how time is spent and explain jealousy as affection. Batterers may move to away to limit contact. They don’t accept responsibility for their actions and justify abusive behavior, extreme jealousy and conflicting personalities.


Violent behavior witnessed by a child is a seed that will grow. Boys who witness mothers abused are twice as likely to abuse. Daughters who witness violence may themselves date batterers. Women who abuse can pass on behavior to daughters


A precursor to abuse is stalking. When a relationship ends or someone is rejected; the rejected individual may initiate annoying, obscene or threatening calls or written notes. They may stake out where you work, live or other places. They may vandalize property, injure pets or the victim. Avoid contact with a stalker because you cannot know when they’ll become violent. Let family, friends and co-workers know when stalking begins.


Report the stalker to the police and follow their advice. Keep a journal or log of all stalking incidents. Keep letters, packages, e-mail messages, FAX’s, taped telephone messages and capture screen shots of all online posts or print them out reflecting the site posted, date and comment.


If you’re in danger, seek a secure, undisclosed shelter. Call 2-1-1 to find a Domestic Violence Shelter near you.


Frontier Health is a leading provider of community behavioral health, mental health, substance abuse, co-occurring, developmental disabilities, recovery and vocational rehabilitation services in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.


Call 423-467-3600 in Tennessee and 276-423-8300 in Virginia, or visit www.frontierhealth.org.


Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined