As the news broke today that the husband of the woman found dead in Hadley last week has been arrested, I’ve had many people calling me with questions or just talking about how tragic and unbelievable this is. So here are some of the things we’ve been talking about today:
· Domestic violence is far more prevalent than most of us think. In fact 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men ae a victimized during the course of their lives. In Saratoga County, it’s the #2 violent crime (second only to drunk or drugged driving), the primary cause of family homelessness, and the primary cause of homicide. People are really surprised when I give these statistics, often stating that they’ve never known anyone who has experienced domestic violence. Chances are good you do… you just may know it. Often we’re looking for obvious physical indicators, like black eyes or bruises. Abuse tactics like emotional or psychological control, social isolation, financial control, and sexual abuse aren’t as easily identified. In fact, victims themselves may minimize the abuse, “Well, I’ve never been hit so this isn’t domestic violence”, or “I read a news story about what one woman experienced. What I’m experiencing isn’t that bad.” Some highly abusive relationships never have any physical abuse; don’t let this be the standard that keeps you from seeking help.
· “I’m not in a crisis and I’m not thinking of leaving the relationship, so there’s no need to seek support.” Wellspring’s advocates and our 24/7 hotline (518-584-8188) can help in a crisis, but we’re also there simply when you need to talk. Many clients choose to remain in the relationship; they just want to explore their options, and plan for how to be safe in their relationship.
· “He’s such a good dad (or she’s such a good mom); the children are better off if we’re together.” Roughly 50% of abusers target their partner, but do not abuse the children directly. Frequently in these situations the parent who is being victimized reasons that the children aren’t affected by the abuse. Often that view changes when the children approach their teens and either they act abusively in their relationships…or are the targets of abuse by a dating partner. While they may not have been directly abused, the children’s understanding of a healthy relationship is shaped by what they see in the home.
· “I can provide a better life for my kids if I stay.” Sometimes that parent worries that (s)he couldn’t provide for the basic needs, rent, food, and healthcare. Supporting a family on one income is a challenge. Wellspring’s advocates can help with petitions for temporary support… and our NewView Housing Program provides a rent subsidy and in-home support services for up to 24 months so that victims can leave abuse to safe homes.
· “I’m still not sure if I should call.” Ask yourself the following questions.
Does Your Partner:
· Make you feel afraid much of the time?
· Act excessively jealous and possessive?
· Control where you go or what you do?
· Keep you from seeing your friends and/or family?
· Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
· Threaten to take your children away?
· Limit your access to money or things like the phone or car?
If this sounds like you or someone you know, call us. We can help.
24 hour hotline 518-584-8188