VALLEY — This year October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the 30th year.
Domestic Violence (DV) or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of abusive behaviors which can include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, or even economic coercion. These abusive behaviors are used by one intimate partner against another to gain and/or maintain control in the relationship. Batterers use a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, and in extreme cases kill a current or former intimate partner. The tactics can look differently in various situations but the ultimate goal of domestic violence abuse is always control.
There are many ways in which society norms and belief systems can facilitate domestic violence. Consider this; have you or anyone you know, thought domestic violence or intimate partner violence is private and needs to be addressed only by the two involved? This is a social norm which perpetuates violence and victim shaming. It is up to society to send the message that intimate partner control and violence is not okay, and not to hold the victim responsible for the offender’s decisions.
Another way domestic violence is enabled is through victim blaming. If someone’s house was broken into, would we ask the victims why they allowed their house to be robbed? Then why ask domestic violence victims what they did to cause the violence? By insisting the victim did something wrong instead of holding the offender accountable, we are justifying the offender in their controlling actions and behaviors.
Lastly, what about this question when talking about domestic violence, “why doesn’t the victim just leave the abuser?” Next, consider being a DV victim. You know you might be hit, yelled at, or put down today by your significant other, but you also know you can feed your children. You know you will have a home to sleep in tonight. But most of all, you know the abuser is not going to kill you while they can control you. This is not a reality for all domestic violence victims, but it is for many; taking the abuse is at least predictable, but leaving makes things unpredictable.
Tu Casa, Inc. is proud of the work it has and continues to do to combat the issues surrounding domestic violence, but it cannot do it alone. The statistics on domestic violence tell the story; according to statistics reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “1 in 4 women has experienced Domestic Violence in her lifetime”, and “Almost half the murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner. The vast majority of these victims are women.” With consequences of this violence so overwhelming, it is clear Tu Casa needs the community’s support in the fight to end intimate partner violence.
Some examples of things anyone can do to combat domestic violence are speaking up about equality in relationships and in all encounters. Know your voice and your opinion have power; both negatively and positively. What you say about intimate partner violence can influence others-decide to influence them against ideas that demean and shame victims. Decide to stand up for those who are being controlled in their intimate relationships. Decide instead of asking a victim “Why don’t you leave?” ask, “What do you need, and how can I help you?” Tu Casa, Inc. thanks area residents for their support.
Domestic violence can no longer be ignored and all must work together to raise awareness and end domestic violence. If you need help or know someone who does, call our local 24 hour crisis/assistance hotline at 719-589-2465.