National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), observed in October, is a time to recognize victims and raise awareness about the devastating impact of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another partner. This kind of abuse affects everyone – men, women, and children of all races, religions, and cultures – without prejudice. That said, the number of women of color who are impacted by domestic violence is distressingly high with the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reporting that an estimated four out of 10 Black non-Hispanic women have been a victim of physical violence, sexual violence and/or stalking by a partner in their lifetime.
To help prevent domestic violence, it is important to recognize the warning signs, which often begin subtly and worsen over time. The following list may indicate potential signs of domestic violence.
- Isolation – Permission is needed before making plans or speaking to friends and family members. Victims may be forced to quit their jobs or drop out of school.
- Low Self-Esteem – Feeling deserving of the abuser’s violence, accepting fault for, and making excuses for their partner’s behavior.
- Unexplained Injuries – Bruises, cuts, scrapes, or even broken bones that are blamed on clumsiness or are in multiple stages of healing.
- Depression or Anxiety – Persistent feelings of hopelessness, fear of angering their partner, and fear of repercussions for seeking help.
Whittier Street Health Center is committed to decreasing the impact of domestic violence. To that end we offer several Violence Prevention Programs. Our Intensive Family Team responds to families in crisis. Through our Domestic Violence Counseling & Support division, a coordinator/licensed social worker works with individuals who are subjected to domestic violence or who are domestic violence survivors. Services available include:
- Safety planning Advocacy for victims
- Support groups for survivors
- Court accompaniment
At Whittier, we treat domestic violence as the serious and preventable public health problem that it is. Domestic violence undermines safety and trust, tears families apart, increases the risk of contracting diseases/infections, and fragments communities.
We are devoted to healing the damage caused by domestic violence by addressing the disparities that contribute to it, including unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and exposure to community violence. And we hope to shine a light on less transparent reasons, such as fear, shame, or stigma which all too often prevent victims of domestic violence from seeking assistance.
Living free of domestic violence is everyone’s birth right. We are doing our best to help end the cycle of violence and promote health, safety, wellness, and equality.
For more information, please contact 617-989-3027 or 617-989-3009.