One of our Movement for Violence Prevention graduates has some advice about taking action in your community. We want to support you in your pursuits to make positive change in your communities!
Domestic Violence and Abuse is a global issue.
In the U.S 1 in 3 women will experience physical abuse and sexual assaults. 1 in 4 Men will experience physical abuse and sexual assaults.
Every 20 minutes someone is experiencing all forms of domestic abuse: emotional, mental, spiritual/religious, sexual, physical, verbal and physical violence. Over 5 million children are exposed to domestic abuse every year.
These statistics do not account for unreported cases or global worldwide cases i.e. sex-trafficking, and other forms of violence simply to name a few.
Did You Know?...
- When someone is in a domestic abusive relationship on average it takes them 7-9 times for them to go back to their partner before they try to leave.
- The ‘gender stereotypes’ are that boys or men don’t get abused. Is not true especially, as children when they witness domestic abuse.
- Women statistically get abused more as their in their young adulthood in comparison to men’s childhood.
- Any sexual orientation can experience domestic abuse it doesn’t matter your sexual orientation or preference is. The ‘stereotype’ that only heterosexual relationships experience abuse is a myth.
- Women and men who are disabled especially, women will experience higher risks of sexual abuse.
- Abuse can be found in all social constructs and communities of people.
- Most abuse occurs by people you know close friends or family members. Random stranger assaults and abuse are very rare.
- Most cases of rape and domestic violence are never reported to the police.
What Can You Do About It?
It can be really frustrating or hard to know when a loved one family member, or friend is in a toxic abusive relationship.
Step 1: The first step is to educate yourself. Either by reading articles online, watching documentaries, learning from a domestic abuse shelter, or simply getting trained and certified to talk about domestic abuse/violence. Brings you one step closer than most people will ever know or be informed in their life.
Step 2: Awareness being aware of a problem is the first step towards change. Sharing your awareness and to inform those around you who are in your life. Domestic abuse can be a ‘taboo’ subject but, if no one talks about it. Then the awareness does not spread. Having awareness about an issue is key and sharing that awareness can lead towards change.
Step 3: How to inform or educate people around you? The most effective change is the small steps and actions we take. It is the little things that are enough to create change. You don’t necessarily have to give a speech or teach in public. Simply using resources, sending links/information and handouts is great enough to help pass this information along to someone.
Step 4: Don’t judge the person who is experiencing the abuse. They are very vulnerable, emotionally, and physical traumatized. All you can do is be a good listener, a receptive ear and a supportive person in their life.
Step 5: If it is life-threatening please seek out professionals, authorities, and people who are trained to handle life-death situations. Being a bystander is not helpful and just as worse as committing the crime itself. When someone is severely hurt you must call for professional help it could save someone life.
Step 6: Have an open-door policy at the end of the day you can only do so much. But you cannot control the actions of others. It’s important again to not try to control someone’s decision but, rather give them the options to help them out. Reminding them they are not alone in this. Support them with resources, connect them with professionals, help them transition to the next phase of their life when they are ready.
Step 7: Finally, take care of yourself as well, and also remember this is a process. It takes time and it is not done overnight. It may take years to assist someone if you’re not a professional do the best you can do. But, also know it’s not your job to do everything for someone. Redirecting them to a team, to a supportive network to help them will be more beneficial.
Find the right people/team, shelter/advisors that understands the person and makes them feel comfortable. Sometimes people don’t feel safe or comfortable with certain professionals.
Everyone is different, every story/journey is different, more importantly everyone’s preference and level of safety is different. Try to adhere and support the person the best way you can for them. And also know when you have done your job, you also need to allow the survivor to be responsible for their own life.
Overall these are a few tips that I hope helped. There is no direct order right or wrong these are just options to help those you care about in need.
-Former M.V.P Advocate K.J