October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
You may have asked yourself: What do I do when someone I know is suffering from domestic abuse?
More than 4 in 5 Native American and Alaska Native women have experienced physical, emotional or other forms of domestic violence.
Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, comes in a variety of forms, including physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and other areas. Both men and women can become victims of abuse.
Many state programs and organizations are making strides to address this issue, but we can all play a part when it comes to helping friends, family and even strangers who are in abusive relationships.
While domestic violence can manifest in different ways, there are general warning signs, such as extreme jealousy, unexpected anger outbursts, constant comparison to others and more. Pay close attention to these cues, especially if they occur repeatedly and for a prolonged period.
Additionally, do not overlook the value of being supportive. It takes courage for a victim of abuse to talk to another person about their experiences. If someone confides in you, listen without judgmentand offer to help where you can.
If you see any red flags, it is important to be aware of resources to share with the victim. Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s (CPN) House of Hope and similar groups can help coordinate emergency shelter, rental and utility assistance, relocation, counseling or therapy. Save the number of a nearby domestic violence shelter on your phone for quick access.
Many victims of abuse sense a loss of control. You can give control back when you ask what they need and how they would like you to help.
Statistics show it may take up to seven attempts for victims of domestic violence to leave their abuser and remain separated. Although it can be challenging to do so, be a source of continued support even if the victim decides to stay with or return to the abuser.
It only takes one person to change a situation for the better. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact the CPN House of Hope at cpnhouseofhope.com or call (405) 275-3176.
Kayla Woody is a domestic violence prevention specialist at Citizen Potawatomi Nation House of Hope.
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