You are not alone

Here is a sobering fact — between 1959 and 1975, 58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam. During that same time period, 51,000 American women were murdered by male partners. (Domestic Violence, The Shameful Facts, State of New Jersey, Dept. of Community Affairs, Division for Women, 1995)

Domestic violence affects more than 12 million people in the United States each year, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline and October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Locally, on Oct. 25, it is National Wear Purple Day and Walk to Prevent Domestic Violence with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Here are some facts about domestic violence, which is not limited to any geographical area, income level, ethnic background or religious affiliation.

In Fulton County, there were 567 incidents related to domestic violence in 2017. In Montgomery County, there were 282 and Hamilton County, 10. These were the incidents that were called in to police. Only a small percentage of domestic violence is ever reported.

1. On average, 24 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

2. 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men have been the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner at some point within their lifetime. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

3. The number of American troops that were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001-2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by a current of former male partner during that time was 11,766. (Huffington Post)

4. Women are 5.5 times more likely to be the victim of domestic abuse compared to men. (Huffington Post)

5. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point where the victim felt fearful or believed that someone close to them would be harmed or killed. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

6. The presence of a gun during a domestic abuse incident increases the risk of a homicide occurring by 500 percent. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

7. 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon of some sort. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

8. Sixty percent of men will batter their partner at some point in their lifetimes — 95 percent of batterers are males, and as adults, boys who have witnessed abuse f their mothers are 10 times more likely to batter their female partners. (Alternatives to Domestic Aggression, Catholic Social Services of Wastenaw County, MI.)

9. Three women are murdered every day, on average, by a current or former male partner in the United States. (Huffington Post)

10. On the average day in the United States, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines across the country. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Warning signs

∫ Excessive jealousy — often imagines or accuses you of having an affair.

∫ Verbally abusive — often says things that are hurtful and cruel.

∫ Is controlling — for example, he or she often tells you what you can and cannot wear, questions you excessively about your daily activities, or “tracks” you by looking for evidence someone might have been in the home.

∫ Tries to isolate you from family and friends.

∫ Questions how long it takes you to go places such as the laundromat, the store or to visit a friend.

∫ Is cruel to animals.

∫ Uses any force during an argument. Pushing, slapping, physically keeping you from leaving, throwing and or breaking things are all acts of violence and force.

If you are being abused:

∫ Call your local domestic violence program and talk to a counselor or advocate — locally, the Family Counseling Center. The STOP Domestic Violence is a New York state-certified program assisting victims of domestic violence, 24 hours a day. The 24-hour hotline is 1-888-563-6904.

∫ Leave if you can — go to a friend’s, family or domestic violence shelter.

∫ Call the police. Domestic violence is a crime.

∫ Develop a safety plan.

You are not in this alone if you are being abused in a relationship and there is help out there.

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