October 5, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness

Hanzal,-CarolynDomestic Violence Awareness

By Carolyn Hanzal
Child Abuse Council
Augustana College Intern

As the leaves start to turn and the month of October approaches, as do many events this month, the month of October is a month of domestic violence awareness. Domestic Violence is defined as a “pattern of behavior that is used to gain power and control over one’s intimate partner, and it can occur in both dating and marital relationships. The violence can be in the form of physical injury, but it may also be in the form of threats, isolation, sexual assault, and emotional abuse” (Family Resources Inc.). Children take notice of violence and arguing within the home. This can lead to many problems. Children may not want to return home after school or blame themselves for their parents or caretakers fighting. Women may remain with their abuser for their children’s sake, so they have both parents.

Society as a whole “tells” women to just leave their abuser. This is easier said than done. Most of the time there is fear, threats, self-blame and denial, or they just cannot financially afford to leave. This puts not only the mother at risk, but the children as well. What women may not realize is there are agencies in their areas that will help them create a safe plan to leave and find them a shelter to go once they leave. If they need legal help, there are attorneys who will provide service based on low-income. Prairie State Legal Services and Winstein & Kavensky, both located in Rock Island, are two examples. If the woman needs to go to court to obtain an order of protection, there are advocates that can help fill out the necessary paperwork and will stand before the judge with the woman to provide support.

No one deserves to be abused in any fashion, whether it’s physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect. Women in these situations need to realize it is not their fault and they do not deserve this kind of lifestyle. There are agencies out there to help. Family Resource Inc. is located in Illinois and Iowa. They provide services to victims of domestic violence and rape in the form of: 24 hour crisis lines in both Iowa and Illinois, individual counseling and advocacy, legal advocacy, support groups, educational groups, children’s counseling, accompaniment to medical, legal or other services, community education, professional training, and shelter services. If you are in an abusive, unsafe situation, remember you are not alone, and there is help.

For more information about the Child Abuse Council’s prevention and education programs, you can visit us at www.childabuseqc.org.