Domestic Violence Awareness Month – #Every1KnowsSome1 (part 2)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and as a health care provider in mid Missouri, we consider that awareness of the utmost importance. We would like to continue with part two of our blog about domestic violence. It is something that occurs in every community, among people of all different backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions. It can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted, so having more knowledge about what it looks like and how people can get help and make a big difference if you ever find yourself or someone you know in that situation. If you’d like to learn more of the warning signs, and help available here locally, keep reading this blog.

What does domestic violence look like?
According to the NCADV “Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser, despite the apologies. What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they love them so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill or hurt the victim or others if they speak to family, friends, etc.).

Some examples of abusive tendencies include but are not limited to:
-Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
-Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
-Accusing the victim of cheating
-Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
-Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
-Controlling every penny spent in the household
-Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
-Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
-Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
-Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
-Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
-Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
-Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
-Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
-Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
-Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
-Forcing sex with others
-Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
-Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
-Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
-Destroying the victim’s property”

Understanding victims
One of the hardest things about domestic is that the victim is often not believed or even blamed when they first let someone know what is happening. Victims may seem different than what we might assume. According to the CADV, trauma can affect a survivor’s:

-Stress tolerance and ability to regulate emotions
-Responses to negative feedback
-Ability to screen out distractions

It could look like:
-A survivor seeming ‘cool’ and detached
-A survivor who is highly sensitive and whose feelings are easily hurt
-A survivor is suspicious and not trusting
-A survivor does not ‘read’ or trust warmth and caring from staff and other survivors

When someone is experiencing a trauma response, they may:
-Not be able to talk to you about what is happening
-Not notice what is happening
-Not know what will help or think that nothing will
-Need some time alone or be comforted by having you near
-Feel too upset or overwhelmed to interact with you
-Not want to say what she needs because she does not feel safe enough, she may want to protect you, or she may believe that she should not say

If you recognize that you are in a domestic violence situation it is important not to ignore it or explain it away. Domestic violence typically escalates over time and can become fatal. Reach out to someone you trust and tell them what is happening. You can call Citizens Against Domestic Violence/Victim Outreach Center Hotline at 1-888-809-SAFE (7233). CADV is a powerful resource for victims offering FREE and CONFIDENTIAL help for victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Lake of the Ozarks area. Thousands of victims and their children have received help through their outreach services and shelter over the years. They have a very warm and caring staff and a family friendly homelike environment. If you are in immediate danger, call the police. If you need medical attention, our caring nurses and doctors in the Lake of the Ozarks area are here to help you, and you can have an advocate here with you from CADV to help you through every step of your journey. To hear more information about this other health care services in mid-Missouri we have links below you can use to follow us on social media.

Follow along with our blogs to get more health and lifestyle pointers to keep you out of our office more than once a year!

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