Opinion: It’s Time to Know, Report and Prevent Domestic Violence

Today marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lindsey Horvath
Lindsey Horvath

As reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic violence. Immigrants face unique issues in escaping abusive homes, including isolation, threats, and intimidation. And while our heteronormative society would have us believe that domestic violence only happens between partners of the opposite sex – by men, on women – statistics show that same-sex couples experience domestic violence at that same rate. LGBT couples actually face additional challenges in identifying and reporting abuse. We have even seen how domestic violence has devastated our own community here in West Hollywood.

It is important to know the signs of domestic violence. It is equally important to know what to do when you see it.

KNOW IT

Physical battering, sexual assault, emotional or psychological abuse, and financial abuse are the most common forms of domestic violence. Abuse of an intimate partner generally escalates over a period of time. Abuse can also occur in non-intimate partner relationships within a household (i.e. elder or child abuse).

From NCADV:

Victims of abuse may experience punched walls, control of finances, lying, using children to manipulate a parent’s emotions, intimidation, isolation from family and friends, fear, shame, criticism, cuts, crying and afraid children, broken bones, confusion, forced sexual contact, manipulation, sexist comments, yelling, rages, craziness, harassment, neglect, shoving, screaming, jealousy and possessiveness, loss of self esteem, coercion, slammed doors, abandonment, silent treatment, rape, destruction of personal property, unwanted touching, name calling, strangling, ripping, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, punching, stalking, scrapes, depression, sabotaging attendance at job or school, brainwashing, violence to pets, pinching, deprivation of physical and economic resources, public humiliation, broken promises, prevention of seeking medical and dental care, ridicule, restraining, self-medication, forced tickling, threats to harm family and friends, threats to take away the children, threats to harm animals, threats of being kicked out, threats of weapons, threats of being killed.

Statistically, men are most often the perpetrators; they are 83 percent of spouse murderers and 75 percent of dating partner murderers. Because of these statistics, violence perpetrated by women is sometimes overlooked – but women can be perpetrators, too. Recent headlines have highlighted how domestic violence knows no boundaries. From athletes to judges to police officers, perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life.

REPORT IT

Having a low rate of reports does not mean that a community is free of domestic violence. Only a fraction of the incidents of domestic violence are ever reported.

Reporting domestic violence can help someone escape an abusive relationship – or even save a life. To report domestic violence:

  • West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station 24 Hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line – 310.858.9344
  • Peace Over Violence 24 Hour Hotline – 310.392.8381
  • Los Angeles LGBT Center Domestic Violence Program – 323.860.5806
  • Jewish Family Services – 310.858.9344 (English/Spanish); 818.464.2864 (Farsi); 310.858.9344 (Jewish Orthodox)
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline – 800.799.7233

Additional resources serving West Hollywood can be found online.

PREVENT IT

Campaigns like One Billion Rising will keep the conversation about domestic violence going long after October, and provide unique, creative opportunities for advocacy.

If you are interested in joining the One Billion Rising movement, you can contact me at Lindsey@onebillionrising.org.

Organizations like Peace Over Violence and National Council of Jewish Women – Los Angeles have created specific programs to address contributing factors to domestic violence as well as its impact. Supporting these programs will ensure that no one is alone when trying to escape a violent relationship.

This October, get involved to end domestic violence. Awareness is only the first step.

Lindsey Horvath, a former member of the West Hollywood City Council, is global coordinator for the V-Day One Billion Rising Campaign.

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vivian cheek-smith
7 years ago

For When the safe haven stay is over where does a victim dwell. For myself i been trying for years years to live in peace. Not able to afford the high payments of rents, im forced to return back to my abusive husband because of homelessness. The last five years i have sought out help to the VAWA housing services only to be told the list for low income housing is a long waiting list, so i have know chose but to return back back home with my abuser husband and try to survive the physical abuse. The safe house… Read more »

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