BRIDGES observed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.


For many of us, home is a place of love and comfort, where we are surrounded by care and support.


But for millions of other Americans, home is anything but a sanctuary.


The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year – often time the abuse happens right in their homes.


Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other. And 1 in 4 men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.


People who are in abusive relationships will stay with their partners for various reasons:


  • Their self-esteem is destroyed, and they are made to feel they will never be able to find another person to be with.
  • The cycle of abuse, meaning the ‘honeymoon phase’ that follows physical and mental abuse, makes them believe their partner really is sorry and does love them.
  • It’s dangerous to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship.
  • Statistics show almost 5 percent of male homicide victims each year are killed by an intimate partner.


So what are signs that you are in an abusive relationship? Here a few of them:


  1. Your partner has hit you or beat you in the past.
  2. Your partner is possessive. He/she checks up on you constantly wondering where you are and gets upset at you if you are hanging out with certain people.
  3. Your partner is jealous. He/she accuses you of being unfaithful or tries to isolate you from family or friends.
  4. Your partner puts you down. He/she attacks your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities, blames you for violent outbursts, and tells you nobody else will want you if you leave.
  5. Your partner threatens you or your family.


And so, we gathered during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to remember and honor those who have been hurt or lost their lives at the hands of a person they once loved and trusted.


Here’s the most important part: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline here for help.


And if you are in danger, call 911.


(Image credit: Walker Memorial Library)