Help’s available for victims of violence
You may have seen the purple signs cropping up around the area announcing that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with a phone number that people can call if they are a victim or know someone who is.
That there even is a Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a sign of progress. Domestic violence is now something that people are working to eradicate. It’s no longer something that is quietly kept behind closed doors. It’s no longer shrugged off as a tool to keep obstreperous spouses or romantic partners in line.
The statistics surrounding domestic violence in the United States provide little room for cheer, however.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has reported that a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States about every nine seconds, and about 20 Americans are subject to physical abuse by their partners every minute. Typically, domestic violence hotlines field about 20,000 calls every day across the country. And if there is a gun in a home where domestic violence occurs, the odds that an incident will end in death skyrockets by 500 percent. When you add it all up, domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
From all indications, rates of domestic violence have increased during the last 18 months due to the stresses brought on by the pandemic. The United Nations has reported that domestic violence escalated 20 percent across the world in 2020.
Resources are available for those who need help. Steubenville-based ALIVE Inc. — Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments — offers emergency sheltering, a 24-hour crisis hotline, court and legal advocacy, housing and financial advocacy support groups and community education. For incidents of domestic violence, it can be contacted at (740) 283-3444 or (888) 611-SAFE (7233). For sexual assault incidents, the ALIVE can be reached at (740) 512-6092.
The Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center, which serves five counties in West Virginia, including Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel, offers a 24-hour hotline that can be contacted at (800) 884-7242.
Perhaps one of the best ways to stop domestic violence is for parents to set a good example for their own children. While it’s inevitable that a couple will have disagreements and sometimes get on each other’s nerves, seeking to resolve arguments, or relieve frustration, through violence is not right and is never acceptable.