Domestic Violence Awareness
By Asia Hall | Oct 12, 2021
In the midst of a pandemic, we can often forget that there are other silent epidemics present. One that has been continuous throughout time is Domestic Violence. I thought it would be a great idea to shine light onto a frequently quieted topic during the month of October as it is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience intimate partner violence. Domestic violence occurs in many forms to include: physical violence, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is so easy to read about, hear about, and watch televised scenes surrounding this and feel that it is completely preventative. However, the reality is that abuse is not as commonly recognized during initial stages of a relationship or to outside parties. Once in a relationship where domestic violence resides, it can present as a challenge to escape and leaves partners with a long road to recovery and restoration. Abuse is a cycle that is reoccurring without certainty of an end date.
Cycle of Abuse
1. Tension building- tension within the relationship increases and there is a breakdown in communication. The abuser begins to demonstrate behaviors such as withdrawal, nitpicking, and criticism toward their partner.
2. Incident- an episode of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is initiated. Examples of such include: hitting, choking, rape, humiliation, as well as the possibility of additional degrading tactics.
3. Reconciliation- abuser apologizes, provides excuses for behaviors, and/or minimizes explosive acts.
4. Calm- This is called the “Honeymoon Phase”. Previous incidents are “forgotten” during this stage as there is no current active abuse.
As a licensed clinician, I am no stranger to assessments and feel that we have to also assess personal relationships in order to increase safety. I hope that through education and increased personal awareness we can increase the safety of a silenced population that is enduring the roller coaster ride of abusive relationships. Ask yourself, “How would I know?” and “What should I look for?”
Look for signs of the “Power and Control Wheel”.
▪ The use of intimidation tactics
▪ The use of emotional abuse
▪ Using Isolation to control outside relationships and activities
▪ Blaming and minimizing violent and abusive behaviors on partner
▪ The use of children as a tool to manipulate partner to stay within a toxic relationship
▪ The use of privilege of one’s sex in order to define relationship roles
▪ The use of economic abuse to control financial decisions
▪ Threats and coercion
There are preventative programs in place to help not only victims of domestic violence but also their children. Due to the severity of this growing population, privacy and discretion is highly respected when one is seeking help. Local domestic violence programs often include emergency housing, transportation, crisis intervention, advocacy, and most importantly support to those in need. They are available through agencies that are federally and/or state funded such as Department of Social Services and YWCA. Privately funded organizations contribute to the DV population as well. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides availablity 24/7 and will assist callers with identifying abuse along with assistance in developing a safety plan. Identifying abuse and resources for support can be that first major step in the transition from the label of victim to the title of survivor.
Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
About the Author
Asia Hall is a licensed professional counselor who has a passion for working with individuals who are fighting to overcome strongholds of generational dysfunction, trauma, and addiction that birth additional barriers to reaching one’s individual versions of success and growth. She believes that planting seeds through support and education will assist not only her clients but her community in bridging the gap between judgement to a place of empowerment.