Domestic violence is a significant and growing danger. Advocates say in difficult economic times, in which families are strained, domestic violence reports spike. Domestic violence is not exclusively perpetrated against women; violence against men by a family member or domestic partner may comprise as many as 40 percent of all incidents.

Since 1981, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It evolved out of the first Day of Unity as a way to connect advocates who were working to end violence against women and their children across the nation.
 
Designating a month to such a serious issue is no feel-good gesture; it provides an opportunity for community awareness, which is critical.

Domestic violence is a significant and growing danger. Advocates say in difficult economic times, in which families are strained, domestic violence reports spike. According to www.domesticviolencestatistics.org, a woman is assaulted or beaten in this country every nine seconds, and studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

Domestic violence is not exclusively perpetrated against women; violence against men by a family member or domestic partner may comprise as many as 40 percent of all incidents. Those numbers are not as reliable, advocates say, because many male victims of such abuse are reticent to come forward — even more so than women.

And abused partners in same-sex relationships have a unique set of circumstances, according to Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes in New York, which reminds us that the abuser may threaten to expose the victim’s sexual orientation or alienate them from the gay community to keep them quiet about the abuse.

Abusive partners use isolation, intimidation, threats, emotional or sexual abuse or physical violence to control their victims. On average, it takes a woman in an abusive relationship seven attempts to break free, advocates say.

If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, please know that there is help. All you must do is reach out. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children.

Victims who muster the strength to get out of abusive relationships can go on to more tranquil lives where they not only survive but thrive.