October is the month of purple ribbons. The ones we wear to remember survivors, support victims and bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence. One in four women and one in nine men will experience intimate partner violence in their life.
Nathaniel Fields is the president of the Urban Resource Institute, a nonprofit that supports victims of domestic violence.
“There is more to domestic violence than just physical violence, it can also present in economic abuse, psychological abuse and emotional abuse,” he says. “Just because it doesn’t fit the standard of “violence” does not mean it is not abuse.”
Young women, ages 18-24, are more likely to be affected by domestic violence. Prevention is an important step in stopping women from joining the statistic. One form is understanding the signs that your partner might be abusive. Some of these include:
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
Even if you are not a victim, being an advocate or supporter is just as important. Donating to organizations that support victims is the easiest way to help and can aid in increasing the available shelters for women, healthcare and rehabilitation.
“If a loved one ends up in a domestic violence situation, the best thing you can do is be there for them and encourage them to leave the situation. For many people it is not as easy as just packing a bag and walking out the door,” says Fields. “Many people don’t have the financial or personal resources to leave or know what to do after leaving the situation.” If a loved one is in immediate danger do call the police.
If you do find yourself in an abusive situation there are organizations that can help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available by 24/7 at
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and by live chat.
Domestic Shelters can also aid in locating a safe space to go.