Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors in a romantic relationship or between family members. This may include abuse by a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or parent. The abusive behaviors can include physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse. Often, an abusive partner does this to have power and control over their victim. Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects all communities.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month-Don’t be silent….
- About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are assaulted each year by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey.” July 2000.)
- Girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rates of domestic violence. (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993–1999.” October 2001.)
Did you know that 1.5 million high-school students nationwide experience dating violence EVERY year? I think we can all agree that is way too many! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM.
FCCLA has two national programs dealing with making healthy choices (STUDENT BODY) and (STOP the Violence). Many STAR Event categories could be used for you to do more research about these topics.
Check out these Competitive Events to learn about topics such as domestic or dating abuse:
Event 15 Illustrated Talk The Social Zone
Event 16 Illustrated Talk Taking Care of Yourself
Event 18 Illustrated Talk My Relationship Status
Event 27 Interpersonal Communications
Event 39 National Programs in Action
To honor of this month I am challenging FCCLA chapters to take a pledge in spreading awareness about domestic violence. But first, we need to understand what domestic violence is exactly.
Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, any behavior that is physically or emotionally harmful to another person by another person. Often time’s domestic violence is automatically assumed to be dating abuse, however, dating relationships are not the only relationships that may be unhealthy. It is important to maintain healthy, non-violent relationships with everyone you interact with–your teachers, friends, family, co-workers, and etc…
Here is one person’s story…..
Relationship abuse comes in all shapes and forms. My experience came in the form of dating abuse… Like a lot of high school girls I was swept into the fantasy that I would be with my high school boyfriend forever and ever….So when I met “Bill” and I started dating, we did things just like any other teenage couple would, we went to movies, hung out at each other’s houses, and had the same group of friends. Little did they know that what was happening behind closed doors. First the emotional and mental abuse began, Bill would say thing like “You’re worthless!’ or You’ll never amount to anything!” for the most part I just brushed these comments off and thought to myself. He is just having a bad day….
Well the bad days got worse. He began saying these derogatory things more often, and in time I started believing him and doubting my own self worth. Then things turned physical. “Bill” prohibited me from spending time with my other friends. He would show up at my house without notice to check if I was home and would steal my phone for long periods of time. Finally I decided that was enough. When he picked me up from school I told him the relationship was over. This caused him to be even more enraged. He took his anger out on me. He pushed me into the car as he screamed into my face. He hit me and kicked me and he told me how worthless he thought I was. He punched me and told me I was never going to amount to anything. Then he drove away.
I found the strength to get out of an unhealthy relationship, although I regret not doing it sooner. I know now that I am stronger than I was before. The experience still haunts me today. Although I walk much taller knowing I was an advocate for myself that day. I know that I am not worthless and I will become something. “Name has been changed”
Here are signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship:
- Excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation or isolation.
- Threats, or insults.
- Being repeatedly watched, followed, or harassed.
- Using money or access to accounts to exert power over a partner.
- Any physical force with the intent of fear or injury. (hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon)
- Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including restricting access to birth control or condoms. Ignoring someone’s refusal to engage in sexual activities by repeatedly using emotional, verbal or physical pressure.
- The use of technology such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated through technology.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms in your own relationships, or have observed these signs in someone else’s relationship you should report them to a responsible, and trusted adult or friend. Please don’t remain silent.
You may also contact loveisrespect.org via their call line 1-866-331-9474, or by texting loveis to 22522.
Check out www.loveisrespect.org
By: Chania Ruehling VP of Resource and Development