October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Since 1987, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month-long and national effort to raise awareness about domestic violence evolved from the Day of Unity, first observed in October of 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Over the past 30 years, domestic violence in the U.S. has decreased by 64 percent. There has been a great push forward in terms of awareness and prevention but there are still greater strides to be made. Recent high profile stories of domestic violence involving professional athletes have once again served to remind all of us about the work in education and prevention still to be done.
High Profile Domestic Violence Cases
In the recent domestic violence case involving pro football player Ray Rice, one of the most disturbing elements of the story was the inadequate and seemingly disgraceful response of the National Football League as it apparently tried to both downplay the severity of the incident while blaming the victim.
Public debate focusing on why the victim in the incident, who was Mr. Rice’s fiancee at the time the battery occurred, later married him only highlighted how much more public education is needed about domestic violence and its effects on victims and families.
Know the Warning Signs
Domestic violence usually occurs in private settings, like a family home, so it can sometimes be difficult to know when such incidents are occurring. Many victims feel fear, shame and embarrassment about what is happening to them and are reluctant to speak out.
Here are four red flags that indicate a domestic violence situation could be occurring:
1. Social Isolation
Have you noticed that you friend or family member isn’t socializing as much as they used to? Do they appear to be increasingly withdrawn, nervous, distracted or high strung?
2. Controlling Behavior
Does it appear that your friend or family member’s partner has an unusual amount of control over activities such as their daily schedule, the clothes that they wear, and/or their finances?
3. Belittling or Aggressive Behavior
Have you noticed that your friend or family member’s partner ridicules them in public or displays volatile behavior?
4. Traumatized Behavior
Have you noticed other changes in your friend’s or family member’s or their children’s behavior? Do they appear to be frightened, nervous, or uncomfortable when the suspected abuser is around?
How You Can Help
If you notice one or more of these red flags in the life of someone you love, do some research on the local resources for combatting domestic violence in your community. Offering your loved one a non-judgmental ear about what may be going on and sharing local domestic violence resource info can help you open the conversation in a low pressure but high value way.
From our many years of work with clients in need of divorce proceedings in California, we know that housing resources are often critical. We’re proud to share this resource for locating domestic violence shelters.
If you find yourself in need of information and resources regarding any aspect of family law in California, please contact the law offices of Renkin & Associates.