Domestic Violence Awareness month is celebrated every October. Each year since 1981, the national campaign to increase awareness and decrease domestic violence has grown in proportion. This year activities and events will be held around the country.
Intimate partner violence and domestic violence are sometimes called the silent epidemic. Many instances and cases of domestic violence go unreported, even in hospitals and medical settings. While increased education and awareness among medical professionals have helped many victims seek help, there are still many more who do not have the strength to speak out.
The Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Justice estimate that one in four American women will suffer from domestic abuse in her lifetime. It is estimated that 75% of Americans know someone who has suffered from domestic violence. We may not recognize the signs and symptoms, but it is clear that domestic violence happens every day, in every community, and among all populations. Like substance abuse and addiction, no one is immune to the risk for domestic violence.
How Can I Help a Friend Suffering From Domestic Violence
Like making the decision to get help for an addiction or substance abuse, making the decision to seek help for domestic violence can only be done when an individual is ready. Many victims make excuses for their injuries or their partner’s actions. Unfortunately, just as we see enabling behaviors in addiction, so do we see enabling behaviors in domestic violence. A victim may return to the abuser many times, because he or she is experiencing dependency issues, similar to what an addict may experience with drugs or alcohol. Like a substance abuse intervention, a domestic violence intervention is most effective when it is done out of love and concern. It should come from a non-judgmental place where the individual understands that those involved will support, protect, and help him or her find help. Just as individuals who become sober live a life in recovery, so do victims of domestic violence. They may experience triggers or flashbacks just like an addict and may benefit from ongoing support and therapy.
There are many support services available across the country for victims of domestic violence. Many of these services are available 24/7/365 through toll-free hotlines that will help the victim find a safe place of short-term refuge and support.
While a disproportionate number of women suffer as victims of domestic violence, there is actually a high rate of men who are victims of domestic violence as well. While we suspect instances of female on male violence are highly unreported, we do know that men are not immune to intimate partner violence. If you or a woman you love is suffering from mental health concerns as a result of domestic violence or needs help learning to cope with stress and trauma, please call us today. We have a women’s program designed to treat the unique needs of women who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders that can help women achieve a happy, healthy future. Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.