October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s important that we take a stand together and break the silence that allows domestic violence to thrive, celebrate survivors, mourn those we have lost at the hand of domestic violence, and empower others to work to end domestic violence with education.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) defines “domestic violence as a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control). Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, race, religion or education.”
Domestic violence deeply impacts our communities, especially our children. It’s estimated that each year more than 15 million children witness violence in their homes. Regardless of whether these children are a witness to the violence or a direct physical victim themselves, domestic violence can impact children’s daily functioning in the short and long term.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network explains that “domestic violence poses a serious threat to children’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being, particularly if the violence is chronic… Children’s immediate reactions to domestic violence may include generalized anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, increased aggression…Long-term effects, especially from chronic exposure to domestic violence, may include physical health problems, behavior problems in adolescence (e.g., juvenile delinquency, alcohol, substance abuse), and emotional difficulties in adulthood.”
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but we can save lives if we work together. National and local organizations, like NNEDV, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and WomenShelter of Long Beach, whose sole mission is to end domestic violence, provide many great resources for ways you can take action all year long.
Let’s promote education and awareness, provide hope to those who need it most, and save lives! Join the fight by starting with these actions:
- Learn to understand.
Victims face many barriers to escaping domestic violence. Misconceptions associated with domestic violence have created a society where victims may not feel safe disclosing the abuse or they may fear that they won’t be believed if they come forward. Learning what domestic violence is, its warning signs, and how to change your language so as not to further reinforce misconceptions are powerful ways we can break down a major barrier. NNEDV exposes popular misconceptions and provides responses to helpfully reframe the conversation here. And for statistics, definitions of abuse and other educational information, visit NCADV’s website.
- Start the conversation.
Although it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, incidents may go unreported because victims may not feel safe to talk about the abuse. You can safe a life by starting a compassionate conversation. For advice on starting that conversation, download NNEDV’s 10 Tips to Have an Informed Conversation about Domestic Violence.
- Become an advocate.
Break the silence and use your voice online and in-person to spread awareness and extend support to those affected by domestic violence. Volunteer at a local organization committed to helping those affected by domestic violence. Participate in local domestic violence awareness events. Stay informed. Action ignites real change!
Local Domestic Violence Resources
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
24 Hour Hotline: (800) 540-4000
Women’s Law has legal information and resources for victims.
COMPTON & SURROUNDING AREAS
1736 Family Crisis Center
24-Hour Crisis Hotlines: (310)-370-5902 & (310)-379-3620
The Guidance Center
Compton Clinic: (310) 669-9510
New Star Family Justice Center
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (800) 978-3600
Victim-Witness Assistance – Compton Branch
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877) 943-5778
Compton Empowerment Center: (310) 763-9117
24-Hour Crisis Hotlines: (562) 594-4555 & (714) 891-8121
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (562) 437-4663
Su Casa, Ending Domestic Violence
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (562) 402-4888
The Guidance Center
Long Beach Clinic: (562) 595-1159
Victim-Witness Assistance – Long Beach Branch
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)943-5778
South Bay Empowerment Center: (562) 590-6400
Doors of Hope Women’s Shelter
Rainbow Services DV
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (310) 547-9343
The Guidance Center
San Pedro Clinic: (310) 833-3135