October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
In 2018, over 200 incidents of domestic violence were reported to police in Ashland County. In 2019, Appleseed’s Safe Haven Program housed 42 adults and 30 children who were fleeing domestic violence and served over 9,000 additional Ashland County residents with crisis intervention over its hotline, other support services, outreach, and/or prevention education. By June 30th of 2020, domestic violence deaths increased by 35% over the previous year in Ohio. Many believe that the increased isolation of families due to COVID19 contributes to the increase, as victims may be unable or less willing to seek help.
Power and control over another is at the heart of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence are often told by their perpetrators that there is something wrong with them. It leaves the victim feeling as though they don't deserve to be loved and treated well. One of the Hallmarks of abusive relationships is the isolation of victims. Overtime, victims are kept from their friends and their families and the family becomes more isolated.
Often perpetrators of abuse and domestic violence gain power and control over their victims in any way possible--to the point where they are controlling their victims’ finances, social network, where they work, and how they spend their time. Perpetrators monitor their victims’ cell phone and email communications as well as their internet activity. Perpetrators of domestic violence not only physically abused their victims, but also emotionally beat down the people who live with them. Often those who live with the perpetrator are made to feel very little worth or value.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship of any kind, it's important for you to know that there are people out there who want to help you. You do not deserve the treatment that you are experiencing. If you are being abused in any way or if you find yourself in a relationship where you are being required to have less and less contact with your friends and family, reach out for help. No matter how bad it seems right now, or how isolated or unprepared you feel to get away, you can get away and start over. It happens every day to people who make that choice.
The reality is we all are lovable and we all deserve to be respected and cared for. If you are in a circumstance in which you are being abused in anyway physically, emotionally, or sexually reach out for help. You deserve to be treated well and in a safe, caring relationship. Help is available by calling Appleseed’s Safe Haven program 24-hour crisis hotline at 419-289-8085. Visit www.safehavenofashland.org for more information.
-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCC-S, Executive Director, Appleseed