DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY

Overview

By Yolanda Clark

Domestic violence is a problem that is growing in our community, and effects people of all races and economic backgrounds. Many victims are silent and will stay with their abusers, sometimes for years out of fear and shame.

Abuse is more than just physical, it can also be verbal, emotional or sexual. Any combination of these are not only traumatic for the adult victims, but have devastating effects on the children that are living in homes where the abuse is taking place. Working as a Health Navigator in a school, I have to be especially aware of possible signs that may indicate that a child may be witnessing violence in the home. Some signs include; the child is withdrawn, a change in eating habits, may be physically or verbally aggressive toward other children, have problems sleeping during nap time or the child is unable to stay awake throughout the day. Children who grow up in abusive homes will often continue the cycle of violence by either becoming an abuser or gravitating towards abusers when they become adults.

When most people think of domestic violence, women are usually what comes to mind. However, violence against men is a huge problem that will often go unreported and not taken seriously. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the CDC, 40% of victims are men. That percentage would be higher if more cases were reported. As with female victims, shame and embarrassment cause men to stay silent. Unfortunately, society will often ridicule male victims for not being able to fight off their aggressor, especially if the abuser is female. Fortunately, more DV shelters are recognizing this growing problem and offering men the same support that women and children receive.

Abusers look to gain control over their victims in various ways. Some of the signs of abuse for both men and women include: frequent bruises or marks on someone’s body, isolation from family and friends, a change in appetite, nervousness, wearing clothes that are out of season (usually to hide marks or bruises).

It’s important to remember that the scars of domestic violence are not always going to be visible, but they are still in the mind and spirit of the victims. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence is possible with awareness and the willingness to be open and honest about problem that continues to grow in our community and communities across the nation.

So, if someone who is in an abusive situation comes to you for help remember to be kind, be patient, be non-judgmental and most important…..be aware.

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* NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE

1-800-799-7233 or www.thehotline.org

 

* WILLOW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CENTER

(585) 222-SAFE

 

* SAFE JOURNEY

(585) 425-1580

 

* MENWEB www.batteredmen.com

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