Standing up against domestic violence

Published 6:25 pm Monday, September 4, 2017

Three women are killed every day in the United States at the hands of an intimate partner, as a result of domestic violence. In North Carolina, it’s a crime that happens too often.

As of July 23, there were 46 cases of domestic violence homicide reported in the state. That’s 46 murders that could’ve possibly been prevented.

Domestic violence prevention requires support. It requires vigilance. It requires the victim having an adequate support system, a person with whom to be honest.

It’s difficult, though, because most domestic violence cases prove to be complex situations. It’s not as easy as telling a friend to get out of a relationship and hoping she will.

Escaping an abuser is certainly not as simple as it sounds. The victim often cannot just “get up and leave.” That’s perhaps the most terrifying part for the victim. Threats of separation or actual separation were most often the precipitating event that led to the victims’ murders, according to a study by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Financial resources and children are also often used to keep a victim in the abusive relationship.

That’s where support and vigilance from the community comes into play.

Members of the community must work to debunk the stereotype that a couple’s problem is simply their own issue. While that is sometimes the case, it’s important to speak up if it’s evident an altercation has turned violent.

Most abusers tend to appear pleasant outside of the home, but violent when in private, so it can be difficult to spot an abusive relationship right off the bat. While there is no “one size fits all” personality of an abuser or signs of abuse, the coalition outlines some typical red flags to watch in any relationship:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Unpredictability
  • Bad tempers
  • Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
  • Embarrassment of humiliation of the victim in front of others
  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly

Here in Beaufort County, the community can find an excellent resource in Washington at Ruth’s House. The nonprofit provides a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. It also provides a hotline victims can call and talk to trained females to help them through a situation.

Be mindful of the relationships around you. Speaking up could save a life.