VALLEY — October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Not only is October a time to highlight that relationship violence is not OK and it is OK to ask for help, but it should remain a focus year round.
Remember at the center of domestic violence (DV) is power and control. Therefore, domestic violence is not a mistake; it is a choice. It is easy to excuse or brush off many DV behaviors because most individuals define DV behaviors as physical behaviors such as hitting, biting, punching, kicking, slapping etc. DV behaviors also include emotional abuse, using economic abuse, using children for leverage, coercion and threats, intimidation, isolation, minimizing, denying and blaming.
Please note that there is no singular profile of a person who commits acts of domestic violence and an abusive person may appear very loving, passionate, and caring in the beginning of a relationship. It is crucial to pay attention to red flags such as moving into a relationship too quickly, having a history of being abused, having a drug or alcohol problem, name calling, criticizing, unpredictable mood swings, destroying your personal property, hurting family pets, threatening to hurt you or themselves if you leave, controlling behaviors, guilt trips, extreme jealousy, pulling you away from friends and family, not being supportive of life goals, over monitoring of where you go and what you do, mind games, etc.
The hopeful part about DV offender treatment is that DV is a learned behavior and with offender dedication, accountability, assessing and treating risk factors, containment and monitoring of victim safety, DV behaviors and attitudes can be unlearned resulting in future healthy relationships and a safer community.
Domestic Violence Victims should not be silent and neither should the community. Blame must be lifted from victims of domestic violence. Those who use abusive behaviors are responsible for seeking help for themselves to change their behaviors. Relationship violence is not OK.
* DV Victim resources: Tu Casa, Inc 719-589-2465, SLV Behavioral Health Group 719-589-5634, Mi Esperanza Wellness Centers 719-589-5634
* DV Offender resource: Dr. William Beverly 719-671-7793
* www.violencefreecolorado.org/stand-up-colorado/ ,
* National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)