Domestic violence is never OK.
It traumatizes victims and is sometimes fatal.
It can begin subtly, with snide comments and put-downs slowly evolving into a relationship where one person holds all the power, the victim rarely leaves home, and can be beaten or otherwise humiliated.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and there are resources available for those in our community who live with the specter of domestic violence and abuse – as well as for those who witness it or suspect it.
The problem is real, and its victims are almost always women. Some facts from the Illinois Coalition against Domestic Violence:
• Eighty-five percent of all domestic violence is perpetrated against women.
• In 2007, 45 percent of female homicide victims were killed by intimate partners, compared with 5 percent of all male homicide victims.
• From July 2010 through June 2011, 35 domestic violence homicides took the lives of 49 people in Illinois.
If you witness domestic violence in your neighborhood, report it to police. Victims often need some kind of outside intervention to break the cycle and persuade them to get help.
If you suspect someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or abuse, let them know there are resources available in the community. And that if and when they should need your help, you will be there for them.
For those who are victims themselves, there is help if you choose to leave. Safe Passage, DeKalb County’s agency for victims of domestic violence, can provide emergency shelter and counseling for adults and children. It also offers help in securing orders of protection, job and education resources and in relearning life skills that might have faded after years outside the workforce.
Safe Passage’s 24-hour crisis line is 815-756-5228. Any interaction is confidential.
Domestic violence is traumatic. If you see it or experience it, take steps to break the cycle.