Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It is a serious problem that affects many families and does not only refer to physical violence, but also can include things like threats, unwanted contact, insults, forced sex, isolation, financial control, emotional, and/or verbal abuse.

Domestic, or intimate partner, violence can affect every part of a person’s life. Between 21-60% of domestic violence, survivors lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. These survivors lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year collectively. This issue also has a negative effect on our society as a whole – the cost of domestic violence exceeds $8.3 billion annually.

While not all of us have been exposed to domestic violence personally, data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows that on average, “20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the US.” Estimates suggest that domestic violence from an intimate partner affects all genders. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men in Virginia will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

In many domestic violence cases, children are impacted as well as adults. Up to 10 million children and youth witness domestic violence in their homes each year. This exposure can have long-lasting impact. Children who are exposed may become fearful and anxious. They are often on guard, never knowing what may trigger the abuse to occur, and therefore never feel safe. Children in these situations often feel worthless and powerless.

One big problem faced by those working to end domestic violence is the fact that people know that it’s common, but often don’t know what to do if they suspect someone they know is a victim of domestic violence. For ways to support a friend or loved one, click here.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place every October and is a great time to get involved and make a change if you’re passionate about ending violence in the home. Some of the ways you can participate include wearing purple, organizing an event, attending an event, spreading the word, and sharing your story if you’ve experienced domestic violence firsthand or lost a loved one to it.

For ways to support Safe Harbor and the families we serve, visit our website:  www.safeharborshetler.com

If you are currently experiencing domestic violence, know that there are many resources available and that there is a way out. For counseling or shelter services to help you get out of your current circumstances and provide ongoing support while you heal call our confidential hotline 804-612-6124 or visit our website www.safeharborshelter.com