Did you know that October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month? All month long, people across the country are urged to discuss the topic of domestic violence and take steps to stop and prevent it.
An estimated 75 percent of people know someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship. This month, you can take a stand to stop a cycle of abuse, whether you are a friend, a victim, or someone accused of violence.
What friends can do
If your loved one is the victim of abuse, it can be very difficult to know how to approach the situation and offer help. However, some helpful tips from Breakthecycle.org suggest:
- Talking to your loved one, even if you have tried to do so before
- Asking them about how unhealthy behaviors make them feel
- Helping them locate resources and information about domestic violence
- Being supportive and open to communication, whenever they feel ready to reach out
What victims can do
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you are likely scared and unsure of what you can do to protect yourself. You may not feel ready to leave an abusive relationship, and you might not realize that there are resources in place to protect you from an abusive party. However, you can protect yourself. This can include:
- Understanding the different types of abuse
- Securing an order for protection
- Talking to someone about the abuse, whether it is a law enforcement agent, a trusted friend or an attorney to create a safety plan
- Seeking relocation assistance
What accused parties can do
If you are accurately accused of violence or abuse, fix it. You can:
- Attend counseling or therapy sessions on your own - not with your victim!
- Seek help for substance abuse if that is a contributing factor
- Accept responsibility for your actions; don't minimize or shift blame
- Don't make false denials in court that deliberately prolong painful litigation; own what you have done, make amends, and do better next time.
Taking action in October
Domestic violence is a serious, pervasive issue that men and women across Arizona battle every day. This month, we encourage anyone affected by domestic violence to commit to taking steps to end it.