By Julie Klipp Nicholson –
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to stand up and say eNOugh to intimate partner violence.
Intimate partner violence can be as visible as bruises or as subtle as name-calling and controlling what a partner wears. Intimate partner violence doesn’t always start with physical violence. Warning signs that you or someone you care about is in a potentially dangerous relationship are:
- Their partner is jealous, possessive or has an explosive temper.
- Their partner puts them down, calls them names or tells them what to do.
- Their partner texts or calls excessively or expects them to report their whereabouts or activities.
- You notice increased anxiety or depression and they become isolated or withdrawn.
- You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
For black women, intimate partner violence is particularly concerning. A recent CDC study found that more than half of homicides of women are committed by their boyfriends or husbands. According to the report, black women are more likely to be killed than white women. The CDC report also found that 98% of the homicidal partners, regardless of race or method used to kill, were men.
These statistics are sobering, but the CDC report also highlights that intimate partner homicides are preventable. Our community has come together to say eNOugh to intimate partner violence. In 2016 we opened the Buncombe County Family Justice Center where people impacted by domestic violence can connect with supportive services and law enforcement. When we support survivors and hold offenders accountable, we can build a safer community and prevent intimate partner violence. But one organization can’t do it alone.
Each one of us can be a part of preventing intimate partner violence. The support of friends and family members is critical to preventing potentially violent relationships from escalating into dangerous and even life threatening situations. If someone you care about is in a dangerous relationship you can:
Show your concern: Let them know you care about their safety and that they deserve a respectful and healthy relationship.
Listen and give support. Let them know you believe them and care about them.
Educate yourself: Identify resources and learn more about dating violence. The Buncombe County Family Justice Center is a great place to start to connect with local support.
Find out more: Visit buncombecounty.org/fjc or (828) 250-6900.
Help them develop a safety plan and access resources.
Our community also has services for people who want to stop being violent with their partners. The SPARC Foundation offers a series of classes to teach new ways to solve conflicts as a way to help people who have used violence in their relationships. You can find out more at www.thesparcfoundation.org or (828) 785-4100.
Together we can build a community free from domestic violence.