People are often surprised when I speak about the prevalence of domestic violence in Saratoga County. It ‘s the #2 violent crime in Saratoga County, the primary reason for family homelessness, and the #1 cause of homicide. But most domestic violence victims aren’t even included in those statistics.
Many never contact the police, never call a hotline, maybe never even tell a close friend or family member about how their partner is treating them. Why not? Stigma? Shame? Disbelief? Fear that if they seek help the abuse will get worse? Desire to protect family members? Afraid they won’t be believed? Hope that the abuse won’t happen again… after all their partner has apologized and promised it won’t? Not recognizing that emotional abuse, financial control or social isolation are also forms of domestic violence… even when there’s not physical abuse? All these reasons… and more.
In any room when I’m speaking to a group, I know that there’s someone, probably many people, who are or were abuse by a partner…or who have someone in their lives who was victimized. But what I also know is that with assistance lives can change and abuse becomes a part of the past. I know this, because people come to me and tell me so,
It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month so this week I’ve been talking to a lot of groups. Let me tell some comments I’ve heard this week:
- “You were talking about how financial control can keep someone trapped in an abusive relationship. That was me. I was afraid if I left my abuser would get custody of the kids because he had all the money. Wellspring helped me so much, and I was able to leave…thank you.”
- “When my son went to college a girl he’d dated a few times started stalking him and doing really scary things. My wife and I didn’t know what to do; we’d never prepared him for this–we’d never even considered this could happen to a son. A friend said to call Wellspring. I thought, “Don’t they just help battered women? I was so wrong.’ You helped us create a safety plan, get an order of protection, and the abuse stopped. I worry how bad it would have gotten without your help.”
- Taking photos with the speaker at the cell phone collection event I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post one of the photographers said, “Let’s get a picture with the advocates. Advocates saved my mother’s life.”
|“Take a picture with the advocates.
Advocates saved my mother’s life.”