October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. HELP of Door County defines domestic violence as a pattern of behaviors that are violent and/or abusive used by one person to maintain power and control over another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. It may be termed intimate partner violence (IPV) when committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners. Domestic violence can also involve violence against children, parents, or the elderly.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner every year.
Taking Responsibility for Domestic Violence
Victims of domestic violence or people in situations that are at risk of domestic violence are living in fear, often depressed, isolated, helpless, embarrassed, and struggle to take the steps they need to leave the relationship for various reasons. Despite the warning signs and the many resources available to help them leave the relationship and become independent, many are frozen with fear and are only able to begin to take action when they’ve already suffered injuries that are so severe that they end up in the hospital where they might be able to talk to someone.
Far too often, the responsibility to take action falls on the victim.
Patterns of violence are prevalent throughout our society and reflecting on your own behavior is an important step.
Many people struggle with controlling their emotions when they are upset. Sometimes, emotions can become so inflamed, that it seems there is no other way to express them than becoming physical.
John Hauser, DCMC Chaplain and board member of HELP of Door County says, “Abusive patterns often have underlying causes. At Door County Medical Center, our Behavioral Health Specialists can help you uncover the trauma you’ve faced and empower you to end the cycle of abuse. The first, and hardest step is acknowledging the problem. We can help.
This can be a difficult realization to come to, but it’s vital if you don’t want to hurt your partner. By acknowledging that your actions may be harmful and taking responsibility for them, you can continue to progress on the path toward correcting them.
Here is a list of some things to ask yourself. Do you:
Get angry, insecure, or possessive about your partner’s relationships with others, including friends, family, or coworkers?
Frequently call or text your partner to check up on them (or make them or expect them to check in with you), or monitor their movements or behaviors?
Feel like your partner needs your permission to go out, get a job, go to school, or spend time with others?
Get upset when your partner won’t act the way you want them to or do the things you want?
Blame your anger or actions on drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s own actions?
Express your anger by threatening to harm (or actually harming) your partner?
Express your anger by raising your voice, name calling, or insults?
Prevent your partner from spending money, control your partner’s spending, require that they have an allowance and/or monitor their spending?
Force (or try to force) your partner to be intimate with you, or get angry or upset if they do not want to?
Get angry over small incidents or “mistakes” you blame your partner for?
If you find yourself in a situation where you fear you might hurt someone, or perhaps you already have, there are resources available to help you get your anger under control. Changing abusive behavior is possible.
According to Milly Gonzales, Director of HELP of Door County, “If you are concerned that you are causing harm to an individual, we do have a violence intervention program where we dismantle existing belief systems to help facilitate changes in violent behavior. We can help. Please reach out to us.”
Everyone deserves a healthy relationship, free from abuse, including abusers.
If you find yourself on either side of an abusive relationship there are local and national resources available to help put an end to the violence.
Door County Medical Center Behavioral Health
HELP of Door County
24 HOUR HOTLINE: (920) 743-8818 or (800) 914-3571
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Call: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
Text "START" to 88788