Love Shouldn't Hurt

October is popular for the changing of the foliage, pumpkin spice season, and the start of the cooler autumn months. Besides being the kick off to fall, October also marks Domestic Violence Awareness month. All of us at Her Campus thought it would be meaningful to discuss what exactly domestic violence is, warnings that may indicate if you or someone you care about may be in danger, and different resources available to aid someone who experienced domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is typically assumed to be when a partner in a relationship is abusive to the other, either physically, emotionally or both. Though Domestic Violence does entail these forms of abuse, it also includes sexual abuse, such as rape, psychological abuse, economic abuse, threats and stalking. All forms of domestic abuse are equally significant and very dangerous.

Domestic Violence may not be something you think occurs very often, however on average 20 people per minute are victims of physical abuse within a relationship, and on a typical day nearly 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic abuse hotlines nationwide. Additionally, women between 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.

Victims of Domestic Violence may sometimes feel too ashamed to admit they’ve experienced some kind of abuse, or may not even recognize they have been. If you think someone you care about may be a victim, here are a few signs they may be in a dangerous relationship:

  • One partner tells the other what they should wear/how they should present themselves
  • One partner makes the other feel small and places blame on the other for the abuse
  • One partner prohibits the other from working somewhere/doing something
  • One partner is constantly aware of where the other is/who the other is around
  • One partner makes the other feel like they owe the abuser sex

Different steps can be taken to report cases of Domestic Violence, such as those above, or talk with an advocate for help. thehotline.org is a great resource, as it discusses different options for reporting Domestic violence, as well as a “is this domestic violence” tab that allows you to search your partner’s behavior and read about different warnings. Additionally, there is an online chat option for anyone who may be looking to have a confidential conversation. There are also different hotlines you can call, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233).

Though it can seem overwhelming and extremely scary to report a case or have the initial conversation about domestic violence, you should know that as scary as any situation may be, there are people in this world that love, cherish and want to help you. If you feel like a friend may be in danger, reach out and always give power back to the victim. For not only the entire month of October, but each second of everyday to follow, please remember to stay kind and spread love.