Domestic violence is an issue that affects people of all ages, ethnicities, religions, educational backgrounds and income levels. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in four women and one in thirteen men has experienced abuse from an intimate partner. On September 19, 2012, the Violence Policy Center released data showing that South Carolina is ranked #2 in the nation for domestic violence homicides.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During this month, a group of organizations and agencies throughout the Upstate are teaming together to host a month-long social media campaign to raise awareness regarding the issue of family violence and to encourage individuals, families, businesses, faith communities, organizations and groups to join in the effort to “break the cycle” of violence, insuring peace and safety within relationships and homes throughout the Upstate of South Carolina. Together, we believe that we can make the Upstate of South Carolina a safer place for children, women and men. During the month of October, our agencies will collaboratively promote the following steps towards prevention of violence in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Five Community Steps towards Prevention of Relationship Violence:
Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Children who grow up in homes that are free from physical, sexual, and emotional violence are significantly less likely to perpetrate violence or to become victims of violence in their adolescent and adult intimate partner relationships.
Currently, one out of three teenagers will experience dating violence, and two-thirds of them will not report the abuse to anyone. To end relationship violence, teens and adults must learn the basic characteristics of a healthy relationship, such as respect, trust, and honest communication while also being aware of the warning signs of relationship abuse.
Low self-esteem and dependency are common risk factors that contribute to abuse in relationships. Individuals who feel confident in themselves and their skills will feel empowered to gain and maintain lifelong stability and independence, thus avoiding unhealthy relationships that result in power, intimidation and control.
Our goal is to involve all people, including men and boys, in an effort devoted to creating a future without violence. Involving men in the effort to end relationship abuse and supporting a healthy understanding of masculinity means supporting communities that are free from harassment and domestic violence and lives that are better for women, children, and men.
Domestic violence is not simply a personal or family issue; it is a community issue. Community members must feel empowered to safely intervene when witnessing violence by contacting local law enforcement and referring victims of abuse to safe and confidential resources for emergency shelter, counseling, case management, legal advocacy, and education. Building community awareness of the United Way’s 211 program, Mental Health America’s crisis line, Safe Harbor’s crisis line, and other emergency resources is essential in order to connect individuals and families with the services they need.
We believe that violence is a community issue that can be alleviated and prevented through the collaborative efforts of the entire community. Together, we will urge our community to stand together in our efforts to raise awareness and take steps towards violence prevention during October and throughout the year.
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