Domestic violence (DV) is often seen as a women’s issue. The truth, however, is that it is everyone’s issue. Allowing unnecessary and unwarranted violence toward anyone to exist anywhere only weakens society as a whole. Here at Home Security Store, home and personal safety is always a priority and today we want to explore some of the ways in which we can all combat domestic violence.
Beyond Just Being the Plight of Women
Let’s be clear, domestic violence does not only affect women, but children and even men are often victims of these crimes. DV is also not only defined in terms of physical harm, but also includes verbal assault, psychological threats, various forms of sexual abuse and emotional bullying. It does not only affect the person person being directly harmed either, but also those witnessing the abuse– including children and other eyewitnesses who suffer long term psychological, emotional and social trauma as a result. With an estimated 12 million reported victims of intimate partner violence per year in the United States, DV affects people of all social, ethnic and economic levels. It will, therefore, take people from every corner of America to educate others about the havoc it wreaks in our communities.
Be On the Lookout
In order to effectively fight against future occurrences of domestic violence, all of us must be diligent in recognizing and reporting it. In addition to obvious signs of physical abuse, such as bruising, bleeding and broken bones, a few of the tell-tale symptoms that another is being victimized by this sort of crime might include:
- Social withdrawal
- A person not being allowed access to household or personal money
- Being publicly humiliated by a partner
- A person indicating fear of a partner
- Frequent absences in work, school or regular social meetings
- The inability to be away from a partner for periods of time (as in spending time with family, friends or at social events apart from a spouse or partner)
Often, when abuse is suspected in someone else’s home or relationship, people will avoid addressing it for a variety of reasons ranging from fear to simply feeling that it is not an outsider’s place to interfere. Consider this, however, it is far better to risk offending a neighbor by taking action against suspected abuse than it is to allow a victim to endure it without offering assistance. Just recently in Ohio, three women were rescued from a man who held them captive for 10 years inside of his home. The man who rescued the women, Charles Ramsey, originally believed that the plea for help coming from one of the women was stemming from a situation of domestic violence. Still, Mr. Ramsey chose to respond and as a result three women who’d been kidnapped and tortured for a decade were finally free. Along with this group of women, a child (the result of the rape of one of the victims) was also discovered. Had Charles Ramsey decided that the suspected abuse of a single woman was none of his business, where would these four victims be today?
When DV is suspected, we should take care in applying the following advice:
- Listen to a victim’s pleas
- Do not judge, criticize or condemn a victim for being in an abusive relationship
- Do not try to second-guess a victim’s story– take it at face value and offer help
- If a violent incident is in progress, immediately contact the authorities
- If you suspect, but are unsure that a person is being abused don’t beat around the bush…ask them about it!
If You Are a Victim
Do not hesitate to remove yourself from a situation where physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse is taking place. You are not at fault and help is available. No matter what an abuser has told you, people will help you, they will believe you and you do not have to feel ashamed to be in your position.
If you have removed yourself from an abusive situation, yet still fear the perpetrator contact your local courts about taking legal steps to keep that person away from you. Also, invest in a good security alarm system and surveillance cameras to protect yourself while at home. If your abuser has keys to your home, immediately change your locks– preferably to deadbolts and even consider a gadget like the Keypout Lock Bumping/Dead Bolt Protector to make sure that a lock cannot be opened by a process known as bumping. Even better, a keyless entry system will assure that you and the people whom you authorize are the only ones allowed access to your home.
This Post Courtesy Of a Special Comment
This post was inspired by a reader who, in reference to an earlier post entitled Tips For Single Women Living Alone, found my advice misleading. According to Janette’s comment, a large number of violent crimes against women are perpetrated by someone that the woman knows. While I think that the advice given in the original post was appropriate for single women and not in the least bit misleading, I do agree with Janette that more attention needs to be drawn to the issue of domestic violence and, hopefully, have made some progress on this blog in that area today.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224 right away.
When You Speak, We Listen
We are grateful for all of your comments on this blog as they help us in addressing your most pressing security questions, issues and concerns. What are your thoughts on combatting domestic violence? Please, let’s continue this discussion in the space provided below.