Each day in Idaho alone, more than 500 victims and their children seek safety and services from community-based domestic violence programs. Nationally, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s a great time to learn how to recognize and stop the cycle of violence.
So let’s define domestic violence.
It is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship used by one partner to gain or maintain power over the other partner. It is physical, sexual and psychological harm or even just the threat of it.
What are some of the common warning signs that your partner might become violent?
There are several warning signs, but the most obvious is a partner who physically hurts you in any way. Other red flags include when a significant other checks your cellphone or email without permission, constantly puts you down, is extremely jealous or insecure, has an explosive temper, controls all of your money, and tries to isolate you from family or friends.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Each year, domestic violence causes an estimated 1,200 deaths nationwide and 2 million injuries for women and nearly 600,000 injuries for men.
Are there factors that influence whether someone becomes an abuser?
There are several factors that can increase the risk that someone will hurt his or her partner. Having these risk factors doesn’t always mean a person will become an abuser, but it’s important to understand their impact. They include:
- Being violent or aggressive in the past
- Seeing or being a victim of violence as a child
- Heavily using drugs or alcohol
- Being unemployed or other life events that cause stress
What can you do if you or someone you know needs help?
In Idaho, you can call the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-669-3176, or the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 for a referral. If you’re in or near Boise, the Women’s & Children’s Alliance operates two 24-hour hotlines: the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 343-7025 and the Sexual Assault Hotline at 345-7273. You also can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. The website for the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance also has lots of helpful information.
Are there other, more general things we can do as well?
We can help support victims, first and foremost. Encourage them to get help. But overall, the goal is to educate people and stop the violence before it begins. Promoting and teaching healthy behaviors in relationships is important. Equality, respect and trust are essential.
(Note: A closer Look At Your Health airs at 6;50 a.m. most Tuesdays on KBOI News Radio 670. This is an edited transcript of the segment from Oct. 18. Join us next week — we’ll be talking about the importance of getting your kids tested for lead exposure.)