DV, also known as relationship abuse or intimate partner violence, is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by someone to maintain power and control over their partner in an intimate relationship. It could happen to anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, culture, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It could happen in teen dating relationships, in marriages with or without children, or to women who are considered strong and assertive. It could happen to someone you care about. It could happen to you.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States, where 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience DV, equating to an average of more than 10 million people per year. This year’s theme, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, is #Every1KnowsSome1. Indeed, in New York State, nearly a third of people (31.7% of women and 29% of men) experience intimate partner physical violence, including sexual violence and/or stalking, in their lifetimes. While Westchester DV statistics are lower than other counties, relationship abuse is still prevalent – and unequivocally underreported.
This month, we recognize the profound impact of domestic violence. We show those impacted that they are not alone. And we shine a light on what often feels private, hidden, and shameful, making clear that relationship abuse in any form is unacceptable. Here are some ways you can provide or get help.
- Contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- Check out the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for fact sheets and valuable resources, including signs of relationship abuse to look out for and safety plans.
- Offer support and understanding; try to listen without judgment (leaving is often the most dangerous time for abuse victims) and affirm the abuse is not their fault.
- Teach your kids (and your peers!) to become an ally. The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence provides an allyship toolkit and other strategies to start the conversation by engaging men and boys and more.
- Support and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations like My Sisters’ Place, which strives to end domestic violence and human trafficking through advocacy, community education throughout Westchester, and services including an emergency shelter, youth workshops, and legal and mental health counseling to gender-based violence survivors.