October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity for communities to come together and stop abuse. Throughout the month of October, community activists and organizations across the United States, including Valley Oaks Health, are raising awareness by sharing the warning signs of domestic violence, providing tools to intervene, introducing stories of survival, and reminding legislators that domestic violence awareness and prevention must be a priority.

Signs you may be experiencing domestic violence

The signs of domestic violence are not always immediately apparent. At first, they may seem subtle, like suggestions or manipulative statements. These mind games can quickly turn physical. 

Red flags to be aware of include:

  • Your partner bullies you and makes you feel worthless, threatens to hurt you or those you love, or controls your every move when possible.
  • Your partner financially controls the purse strings, how you make money, or denies you access to money even if you’ve earned it.
  • Your partner monitors your movements, makes you look worthless in front of others, prevents you from seeing loved ones, or requires you to gain their permission to see family or friends.
  • Your partner attacks you with weapons, words, or with their hands; prevents you from eating, sleeping, or seeking medical treatment; or puts you in danger by abandoning you in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Your partner forces you to have non-consensual sex or makes you feel that you owe it to them to engage in sexual activity through guilt or threats.

Signs someone is being abused

The warning signs that someone you care about is being harmed can vary. These common behaviors or occurrences may be a sign you should take interest:

  • There is always a new or “klutzy” excuse for frequent injuries.
  • Huge swings in personality. Someone who was calm and confident may now be quiet and reserved.
  • Victims of domestic violence may be overly concerned about their partner’s happiness or say they need to check-in before making any decisions, big or small.
  • Once the life of the party, they rarely attend or chronically fail to show up for long-standing engagements and outings.
  • Their wardrobe seems odd, such as long sleeves and pants in the summer that could be hiding bruises.

Where to find help

Without hesitation, if you witness or are involved in an emergency, please dial 911.

Although you or someone you care about may feel like they cannot turn to family or friends due to a partner’s control, there are people who can help.

For more information, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); TTY 1-800-787-3224. 

Organizations within Central Indiana can also provide resources and action plans. It takes courage to bring about change. Arming yourself with information is the first step in making a difference. This city-by-city resource list contains links to local programs, assistance, and intervention options.

Your safety matters to us at Valley Oaks. If you or someone you know may be in danger, our caring and compassionate staff are here to help. Together, we can end domestic violence.   

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