Take action to save victims: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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domestic violence victim

1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, as reported by NCDAV, and females between the ages of 20 and 24 are at the greatest risk, though Penn State police personnel say that most violence starts as early as age 16.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Aside from raising awareness, action must be taken to put a stop to this crime.

Legislation

The number of domestic violence victims was once higher than it currently is due to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was passed in 1994. Women are now provided with more access to help in domestic violence situations than in years previous to the act.

Some states have domestic violence laws to offer protection for victims.

Warning signs

Penn State University points out some warning signs of an abuser:

  • Embarrasses the other person with put-downs
  • Controls the other person’s actions
  • Acts in scary ways
  • Pushes, slaps, chokes or hits the other person
  • Controls the money in the relationship
  • Makes all of the decisions
  • Prevents the other person from going to class or to work
  • Ignores or denies the abuse, or blames the other person for the abuse
  • Threatens to hurt himself or herself
  • Destroys property, abuses or threatens to abuse or kill pets

Any combination of these signs may suggest domestic violence. If you’re concerned about your well-being, or the well-being of a friend, don’t wait. These warning signs and others help to recognize domestic violence.

Effects

The effects of domestic violence stretch far beyond the perimeters of the home. Domestic violence victims often bring their suffering to the workplace and to school or college.

Domestic violence victims miss work because of mental, emotional and physical trauma. Some end up losing their jobs. The NCDAV reports that 142 women were murdered at their workplaces between 2003 and 2008 as a result of domestic violence.

Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be part of a violent relationship in the future. Boys who witness domestic violence in their youth are two times more likely to abuse their partners or children as adults.

Take action

You can help a domestic violence victim simply by knowing the signs and listening to his or her story.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence, call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Currently, domestic violence is largely unreported in the United States. The only way that domestic violence can come to an end is through awareness, reporting and support for victims.

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