It is that time of year where we take a moment to call attention to the pattern of coercive control that hides in the darkness of so many homes.
This is the time we evaluate the safety of the families within these homes and realize that we need to take action and bring awareness to the oppressing pattern of abusive behavior and its traumatizing effects upon those who are abused.
In order to understand the importance of awareness, you must understand that one of the first stages of domestic violence is isolation. Isolation is the act of separating something from other things. The abuser uses the isolation tactic to keep the abuse hidden and the person experiencing abuse under the control of the abuser.
Isolating the person can keep them from having a network of assistance and gaining resources to help them escape the unsafe relationship. When someone has been isolated from family and friends it is hard for them to seek help and to express their safety concerns.
We also must remember that these relationships do not start out abusive. The abuser may come into the relationship as charming, captivating, and a supportive partner. Once the relationship becomes connected and a bond has formed, things change into a controlling trap that can break the confidence and strength of the person experiencing abuse. This all makes ending the cycle of abuse difficult.
When we spread awareness, we teach people that they have options and there is life free of abuse and control. Planting that seed of safety and hope for people can end the cycle of abuse and make them survivors that can thrive to live a happy and safe life. It all begins with creating space for awareness.
So how can we take action?
- ASK the hard questions if you see or feel red flags: Are you safe? It can be the moment of opportunity that they need.
- BELIEVE them and let them know that they are not alone. In fact, 1 in 3 women and 1 of 8 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
- REFER to local services for safety planning and/or counseling that can help the person experiencing domestic violence thrive and hopefully end the cycle of abuse.
To all those out there that have been affected by domestic violence; you are not alone.
To all those out there that are supporting the fight against domestic violence, thank you.
Support for survivors and people working with survivors is always available.
- SAFE of Columbia County 24 hour crisis line 503-397-6161
- National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
· Connect with local confidential advocates and DV crisis lines with this interactive map. Search by location, language, or service type.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673.
- National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888 – 373- 7888.
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.
Janelle Adams is an advocate from SAFE of Columbia County. She may be reached at 503-396-2538, or at https://safeofcolumbiacounty.org/