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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an annual designation observed in October. For many, home is a place of love, warmth, and comfort. It’s somewhere that you know you will be surrounded by care and support, and a nice little break from the real world outside. But for millions of others, home is anything but a sanctuary. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.

Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other.

1 in 4 men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

Here’s another shocking statistic: the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 is 6,488. The number of women who were murdered by current or ex-male partners during that same time frame is 11,766, according to the Huffington Post. That’s almost double the number of people who were killed fighting in the war. People who are in an abusive relationship will stay with their partner for a number of reasons:

Their self-esteem is totally destroyed, and they are made to feel they will never be able to find another person to be with.

The cycle of abuse, meaning the ‘honeymoon phase’ that follows physical and mental abuse, makes them believe their partner really is sorry and does love them.

It’s dangerous to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention program.

Statistics suggest that almost 5 percent of male homicide victims each year are killed by an intimate partner. They feel personally responsible for their partner, or their own behavior. They are made to feel like everything that goes wrong is their fault.

They share a life. Marriages, children, homes, pets, and finances are a big reason victims of abuse feel they can’t leave.

Sometimes, people don’t know if they are really in an abusive relationship because they’re used to their partner calling them crazy or making them feel like all the problems are their own fault. Here are a few ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship that you need to get out of.

  • Your partner has hit you, beat you, or strangled you in the past.
  • Your partner is possessive. They check up on you constantly wondering where you are; they get mad at you for hanging out with certain people if you don’t do what they say.
  • Your partner is jealous. (A small amount of jealousy is normal and healthy.) However, if they accuse you of being unfaithful or isolate you from family or friends, that means the jealousy has gone too far.
  • Your partner puts you down. They attack your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities. They blame you for all of their violent outbursts and tell you nobody else will want you if you leave.
  • Your partner threatens you or your family.
  • Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time).

October was first declared as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. Since then, October has been a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for its victims. Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

Tennessee Domestic Violence statistics:

  • 40% of Tennessee women and 32.5% of Tennessee men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • In 2021, there were 11 domestic violence murders and 63% were committed with a firearm. Offenders are 5x more likely to kill their victim if they own a firearm and 20x more likely if they’ve previously threatened/assault with the firearm. 7 or 63% of these murders were committed against an intimate partner.
  • Women are far more likely to be killed by a man in their life than a stranger.
  • Manual strangulation is the biggest sign domestic abuse will turn deadly. Non-fatal strangulation has been reported in nearly 45 percent of attempted homicides in domestic violence situations against women, and 97 percent of victims are strangled manually.
  • Men who strangle their intimate partner are 7x more likely to kill them.

The Shelter, Inc., an organization in Lawrence County dedicated to serving survivors of domestic violence, is proud to announce its participation in Domestic Violence Awareness Month throughout the entire month of October. This annual observance provides an essential platform for raising awareness about domestic violence, supporting survivors, and promoting initiatives to end this pervasive issue.

Since January 2023, The Shelter, Inc. has already served 79 women, 57 children, and several men who have been affected by domestic violence. These numbers underscore the pressing need for continued awareness, support, and resources to help those impacted by domestic violence regain control of their lives.

The Shelter, Inc. provides crisis care, counseling, and continuing support for victims of domestic violence, including domestic violence victims in Wayne County. Through community education and advocacy, they help to promote the change of social attitudes in order to end the cycle of abuse.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need assistance, call The Shelter, Inc.’s 24-hour hotline at 931-762-1115 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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