Seven Ways to Combat Domestic Violence
By Dr. Tracy Siebers, Ed.D., LPC, Clinical Director at Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley
Nearly two in three corporate executives (63%) say domestic violence is a major problem in our society, and more than half (55%) cite its harmful impact on productivity in their companies.1 What do you think about these statistics? What are the first words that come to your mind when you hear the phrase “domestic violence?” Some people think of aggressors, some think of children and some think of victims and believe victims who remain with abusive partners are weak, which is a huge misconception, among many. No matter your response, domestic violence is a pervasive and powerful negative force in our families and communities.
Domestic Violence is Widespread
Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It appears in many forms and exists in all socio economic classes, among all ages and genders, and among people of all educational levels. It can be of a verbal, emotional, or physical nature or a combination of these forms.
- More than one in three women (35.6%) and more than one in four men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.2
- Forty-three percent of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal, or controlling abuse.3
- One in four dating teens is abused or harassed online or through texts by their partners.4
- Thirty to 60 percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.5
Why do people abuse others? Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partners, and they often enjoy the feeling that exerting power gives them. They believe their own feelings and needs should be the priority in their relationships, so they use abusive tactics to make their partners feel less valuable and undeserving of respect. They “win” as their partners seek to fill all of their needs. But there is no victory in an imbalance of power in an intimate relationship. A healthy relationship is when the needs of both partners and their families are taken into consideration.
Help is Available
Relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy, to unhealthy, to abusive. If you feel that you are not in a healthy relationship, please reach out for help and support. There are many sources of help available to you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233), or click on the link to chat live. We also have excellent local domestic abuse service agencies through the Harbor House in Appleton at (920) 832-1666 and the Christine Ann Shelter in Oshkosh at (920) 235-5998 or 800-261-5998. If you are in danger, call 911. Consider an investment in your mental wellness and seek the support of a trained counselor or spiritual advisor.
We Can All Take a Stand
If you are not directly affected by domestic violence, you are most likely indirectly affected by it in your workplace, school, faith community, or friend groups. In fact, nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. You can make a difference for individuals and families by supporting domestic abuse services, especially during October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
- Attend the Ultraviolet 2019 on October 11, an immersive art and performance event at the Fox Cities PAC in support of the Harbor House.
- Sign up for the 2019 Race for the Light on Dec. 7 in support of the Christine Ann Center.
- Support Samaritan Counseling Center’s uplifting Silent Samaritan Campaign and luncheon in May.
- Give to your local United Way.
- Learn how to support victims of domestic violence, ask questions, and help them find help.
- Advocate for victims in Wisconsin to change the laws to better support victims of domestic abuse.
- If you need help to develop healthy relationship skills, ask for help. There are people who have the training, skills, and compassion to help you.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to hold the door open for someone at the gas station the next time you go as you never will know how much a difference you will make in someone’s life today who is hurting, discouraged and without hope. Love one another as you want to be loved. If you don’t have the tools to do this please seek help as there are people who want to assist you in attaining those skills. 😊
3 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll | Break the Cycle
4Teen Dating Abuse and Harassment in the Digital World
In addition to being the clinical director for Samaritan Counseling Center, Dr. Tracy Siebers is a bilingual English and Spanish therapist. She serves children, adolescents, adults, couples and families facing concerns with depression, anxiety, anger management, behavioral problems, cultural adjustment, mindfulness, trauma and borderline personality disorder. She serves clients at Samaritan’s Menasha and Kaukauna locations.