Domestic Violence Awareness Month Aimed at Saving Lives

September 30, 2016

In the first half of 2016, at least 13 Jefferson County residents lost their lives to domestic violence. That’s more than twice the number killed in the county in all of 2015, and it illustrates the importance of YWCA Central Alabama’s domestic violence prevention efforts.

“We are working every day to save lives,” said Annetta Nunn, community outreach coordinator. “By educating people about the warning signs of domestic violence and how to seek help, we hope to encourage as many victims as possible to escape their abusive relationships before it’s too late.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the YWCA will host two candlelight vigils to remember those who have lost their lives and to share lifesaving resources. The first is scheduled for Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at Chapel in the Pines in Pell City’s Lakeside Park, and the other will be Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in Birmingham’s Linn Park.

The need is crucial. Last year in Alabama, 32 victims were killed, 267 were raped and more than 3,500 were assaulted by someone who claimed to love them.  “We have to continue to speak out and let victims know that help is available, and we need to educate the public so that they can recognize the signs in case someone they love is suffering in silence,” Nunn said.

Here are some warning signs of domestic violence:

· Verbal and emotional abuse – Belittling, name-calling or accusing the partner of being crazy; using threatening language, humiliation or mind games to attack self-esteem.

· Intimidation – Using looks, gestures or actions, such as smashing things, abusing pets or displaying weapons, to invoke fear.

· Isolation – Controlling who she sees and talks to, what she reads or where she goes, and using jealousy to justify the actions.

· Quick involvement – Wanting to become exclusive, move in together or marry very quickly.

· Economic abuse – Preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money or giving her an allowance so she doesn’t have access to the family income.

· Extreme jealousy – Constantly asking about the partner’s whereabouts, checking cell phones and social media to make sure there's no cheating.

· Blaming others – Constantly saying things like, “You caused this,” or, “You made me hit you.”

· Using coercion or threats – Often threatens to kill the victim, leave, commit suicide or take the children away.

If you or someone you know is in trouble, call the YW’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 205.322.4878 or the Statewide Crisis Line at 800.650.6522.

To get involved with the YWCA or to support our programs, click here.