In 1989, Congress passed Public Law 101-112, officially designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has been passed each subsequent year. Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” first held in October 1981 and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
This year, we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it continues to lead to a significant increase in domestic violence; with many support services citing more than double the usual number of calls to police and hotlines. With many isolating at home to contain the spread of the coronavirus, victims of domestic violence are trapped with their abusers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 Americans experience intimate- partner physical violence every minute. That totals around 120 million victims per year. Signs that you are experiencing abuse include: your partner controlling you, controlling your money, keeping cash or credit cards away from you or discouraging you from working.
Another sign is your partner isolating you. Cutting you off from family and friends makes you even more dependent on your partner and could be a sign of abuse. Physical abuse by your partner is a serious crime regardless of your relationship status.
Like with COVID-19, the signs of domestic abuse are not always visible. During this unusual time, it is important that we check in with family members, friends and neighbors. To end domestic violence, we all need to be part of the solution. Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up and being an engaged bystander, are all examples of things you can do to help. Talking about these issues openly can help end the shame and stigma felt by domestic violence survivors.
Kingdom Builder’s Family Life Center is dedicated to changing the narrative for those who have experienced domestic violence. We give compassionate and confidential assistance to women, men and children who have been affected by domestic violence or intimate partner abuse. We offer mental health counseling, case management, legal resource referrals, guidance in finding safe shelter and emergency financial assistance.
We will connect you with financial assistance, legal and mental health counseling, community resources, safe housing, court advocacy and so much more. Additionally, the staff will help guide you on how to develop a safety plan, obtain a restraining order and much more. For more information, visit kbflc.org
Anyone needing services should call 719-247-8190 during normal business hours. If after hours you can reach our crisis line at 719-464-4647. All calls are strictly confidential.
Together, we can make a difference.
Lisa Jenkins is the executive director of Kingdom Builders.