October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Story Courtesy of Nan Baughman

Domestic Violence isn't concentrated to any specific age, race or gender. It can happen to anyone. One in four women and one in seven men will be victims of violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Over the course of a year, this equates to more than 10 million men and women.
If you suspect someone is being abused, there are signs to look for:
• Signs of injury
• Emotional distress
• Change in appearance or self-esteem
• Denial of harassment or injuries
• Lack of confidence or communication
You may feel like you're interfering if you choose to get involved and reach out, but your support can make a difference. If a victim opens up to you, the most important thing you can do is listen without judging. Respect their privacy and encourage them to seek help to get to a safer and healthier place. If they can't leave or get out of the relationship, encourage them to talk to people who can help them with a safety plan and guide them.
If you see something, say something! Take a stand and speak out against domestic violence. By doing this, you remind everyone that there are victims and survivors that have been affected by domestic violence.
If you need help or know someone who does, you can call the local Refuge House office at (850) 342-3518 or the 24-Hour Hotline at (850) 681-2111 or (800) 500-1119. Your local contact person is Nan Baughman, Domestic Violence Outreach Counselor/DV-Child Welfare Advocate. All calls are strictly confidential.