A Message from Fr. Rich about Domestic Violence
Although this is the end of the month,
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
. Certainly the conversations prompted by the presidential campaign have put this issue in front of all of us in a vivid way. Violence against another human being is never acceptable behavior -- whether it is physical, emotional, psychological, mental or spiritual. Everyone deserves respect and decency in how they are treated. As so many articles and news stories have made clear in the past few weeks, women, especially, are more prone to suffer from domestic violence. The patterns of our society have made that all too common. But no one is immune from this scourge.
In the liturgical cycle of readings we have been using this year, (the Liturgical Year runs from Advent through the feast of Christ the King), we have been listening mostly to passages from St. Luke's Gospel. It is not accidental he is both the evangelist who includes more women than the other 3 gospels combined, and his is considered the Gospel of Social Justice. For indeed, how can we have a just society if we will not treat one another and all God's children with equality, respect and dignity?
I thought it might be helpful again to present some of the information that can help identify domestic violence and how we can respond. The following information comes from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (www.nnedv.org).
What is domestic violence?
- Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control).
- Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.
- Batterers make it very difficult for victims to escape relationships. Sadly, many survivors suffer from abuse for decades.
- It's important for survivors to know that the abuse is not their fault, and they are not alone. Help is available for those who suffer from domestic violence.
What are resources available for victims?
Survivors have many options, from obtaining a protection order to staying in a shelter, or exploring options through support group or anonymous calls to a local domestic violence shelter or hotline program. There is hope for victims, and they are not alone. If you are in danger, call 911, a local hotline or a national hotline.
- NNEDV's website has safety tips and resources: www.nnedv.org
- U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline: Phone: 1-800-799-7233 TTY: 1-800-787-3224
- -U.S. National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: www.loveisrepect.org Phone: 1-866-331-9474
- -Women's Law has legal information and resources for victims: www.womenslaw.org
- -The Allstate Foundation has resources to end financial abuse: http://clicktoempower.com
Before using online resources, know that your computer or phone may not be safe.
Some abusers are misusing technology to stalk and track all of a partner's activities.
Do abusers show any potential warning signs?
- There is no way to spot an abuser in a crowd, but most abusers share some common
- They insist on moving too quickly into a relationship.
- They can be very charming and may seem too good to be true.
- They insist that you stop participating in leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.
- They are extremely jealous or controlling.
- They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything
- that goes wrong.
- They criticize their partner's appearance and make frequent put-downs.
- Their words and actions don't match.
- Any one of these behaviors may not indicate abusive actions, but it's important to know
- the red flags and take time to explore them.
Are men victims of domestic violence?
Yes, men are sometimes victims of domestic abuse.
When we talk about domestic violence, we're not talking about men versus women or
women versus men. We're talking about violence versus peace. We're talking about
control versus respect.
Domestic violence affects us all, and all of us - women, children and men - must be part
of the solution.