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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In 2019, there were 1500 reported incidents of domestic violence in Richland and Ashland counties combined. However, we know many incidents go unreported. In 2020, the Ashland County Safe Haven responded to 992 survivors. Anyone can be a survivor of domestic violence. Survivors of domestic violence come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education levels, all economic levels, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities, and all lifestyles.

 Survivors of domestic violence do not bring violence upon themselves. Violence in relationships occurs when one person feels entitled to power and control over their partner and chooses to use abuse to gain, and maintain, that control. In relationships where domestic violence exists, violence is not equal, even when the survivor fights back in an effort to diffuse a situation. There is always one person who is the primary, constant source of power, control, and abuse in the relationship.

 Perpetrators of abuse and domestic violence gain power and control over their victims in any way possible. They get to the point where they are controlling their victim’s finances, social network, where they work, and how they spend their time. Perpetrators monitor the victim’s cell phone and email communications as well as their internet activity.

Many survivors…

  • Fear cultural- or- community, backlash for leaving;
  • Feel like they have nowhere to go or ability to flee;
  • Fear they will not-be-able-to-support themselves; 
  • Have children in common with the abuser and fear for the children’s safety if they leave; or
  • Have pets they don't want to leave.

 Survivors of domestic violence are often told by their perpetrators that there is something wrong with them. It leaves the survivor feeling as though they don't deserve to be loved and treated well. The reality is we all are lovable and we all deserve to be respected and cared for.

If you are in a circumstance in which you are being abused and anyway physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually reach out for help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233. Visit www.safehavenofashland.org for more information about Ashland County domestic violence resources. 

-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD LPCCS

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