Safe in 60: Preventing Domestic Violence

Oct 1, 2018, 7:00 AM | Updated: Oct 3, 2018, 10:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — According to the Utah Department of Health, domestic violence or intimate partner violence, affected 18 percent of Utah women in 2016. But it doesn’t just affect the victim — it can have lasting negative effects on children and other family members.

While it’s a tough subject to talk about, the numbers show we need to talk about it, and October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic or intimate partner violence is any abuse that occurs between cohabitants, including roommates, or between two people in a close, intimate relationship. The term “intimate partner” includes current and former spouses and dating partners in which a person was or is currently in a sexual relationship.

There are many ways abuse can occur in a relationship. One thing they all have in common is that one partner is attempting to have complete control or power over the other.

That can happen in the following ways:

  • Physical Abuse: any type of physical aggression such as hitting, kicking or strangulation. Strangulation can cause permanent physical damage and death and is considered very serious in an abuse case.
  • Sexual Abuse: forcing sex on a partner who is not consenting.
  • Threats: any threat to physically harm a partner.
  • Emotional Abuse: intimidation; alienating the victim from family or friends; hurting the victim’s sense of self-worth; taking away belongings, withholding finances or other basic resources.

There are signs which may indicate someone is suffering from Domestic/Intimate Partner Abuse:

  • Excuses frequent injuries.
  • Used to be outgoing and confident, but seems to have lost self-esteem.
  • Seems to be overly eager to please their partner.
  • Becomes isolated from family or friends.
  • Wears long sleeves in the summer to hide injuries.
  • Constantly checking in with their partner or their partner constantly checking in with them.
  • Missing work, social gatherings or school for no apparent reason.
  • Any other unusual changes in actions could indicate abuse – many times the victim shows signs and doesn’t know it.

If you suspect a friend or loved one is suffering from abuse, show them support and let them know it is not their fault. Most victims have been alienated from their friends and family and feel like they have nobody to turn to for support.

Help them make a safety plan. Don’t pressure them to leave before they are ready, but let them know you will be there when you are ready for help. When they are ready, help them through the process of reporting the abuse and finding resources.

Most importantly, if you witness abuse, don’t remain silent. Report it.

Resources for Domestic Violence:

  • Utah Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Utah YWCA shelter for women- Crisis line- 801-537-8600
  • 911 — don’t hesitate to call if you need immediate help

There is absolutely no reason someone should have to put up with abuse. If you know someone who is being hurt in their relationship, please report it to the authorities. You can remain anonymous. And if you are a victim, please take that first difficult step, and get help.

Helpful links:

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Safe in 60: Preventing Domestic Violence