October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Bella Lee, Staff writer

**Trigger Warning: Domestic/Sexual Violence**

When one thinks of the month of October, they generally think about the leaves changing colors, the weather getting cooler and preparing for Halloween. However, this is also a time to be especially cognizant of those who are subjected to domestic violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, first established nationwide in 1987.

Domestic violence comes in many forms, such as rape and stalking, and can affect many people, from adults to children.

The damage that can be done to victims of domestic violence ranges from injury and fearfulness to posttraumatic stress disorder to use of victim services and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

The statistics that have emerged from these cases, which are a result of nearly 20 domestic violence incidents occurring every minute, are extremely concerning and something that ought to have more widespread coverage.

On average, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking. Out of those numbers, one in three women and one in four men experience some form of physical violence from their partner and one in seven women and one in 25 men have been injured by their partner.

Additionally, one in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked by a partner, all leading to a typical day seeing around 200,000 phone calls made to domestic violence hotlines.

Most concerningly, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the chance of homicide by 500% and intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes that occur.

In the worst-case scenarios, domestic violence incidents can lead to homicide. Out of these intimate partner homicides, 20% of the victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but rather friends, family members, neighbors, law enforcement officers, bystanders or others that attempted to intervene in the situation.

Furthermore, murder-suicides can arise from domestic violence incidents. Seventy-two of these incidents involve an intimate partner, and 94% of the victims in these incidents are female.

The buildup of these incidents can take on victims and their loved ones physically, emotionally and mentally. One in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence situations and 90% of those children are eyewitnesses. Between 21-60% of domestic violence victims end up losing their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. Sadly, there has been found to be a relationship between domestic violence incidents and depression and suicidal behavior.

It is important to learn about domestic violence because it could, unfortunately, happen to anyone. One of the most important statistics to look at is how often men are affected by domestic violence.

Usually, domestic violence is associated with women being the victim, but men are almost just as often victims. What is worse is that these men are silenced because they’re “too strong” to be subjected to domestic violence.

If you suspect that you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).