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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence is a crime that is plagues many homes in the Country. October is a month where we focus on the problems as well as the resources available for the victims.

This month it will be hard to miss the purple ribbons about Cherokee County as agencies and individuals promote awareness to a serious issue that plagues many households in our community.  While the issue is far more pervasive than most can imagine, these victims are not alone and there are places and people they can turn to.  

Family Violence is criminal behavior that cuts across all socio-economic layers and touches the lives of old and young, men and women, gay and straight and even rich and poor.  One in five teens report that they are involved in a relationship where they have suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse.  Violence is not something that people outgrow in a relationship but only get s worse as a battering partner seeks to manipulate and control their partner.  

Physical and mental abuse in the home is not related specifically to a alcoholics or drug abuse but is a separate and distinct problem.  It is a condition that is borne of an acceptance in the use of violence means of control of another person. This situation is only magnified when children are involved.  While they may not be the target of the violence, children raised in a violent atmosphere are more likely to grow up believing that violence in the family is acceptable, creating another  generations of victims and abusers.

Violence within a relationship is something of a stigma that society has swept under the rug.  For batterers it is acceptable to punish their partner to keep them in line while many of the victims believe that they deserve the treatment inflicted upon them.  Family violence is a cycle in a relationship that builds a level of tension in the relationship until there is a explosive climax of violence followed by a relative calm.  Many victims will provoke the violence in order to get to the following calm.  The victims of Domestic Violence feel trapped in this cyclic pattern of tension, violence and calm.

The greatest misunderstanding about Domestic Violence is that the victims can just escape if they wanted to.  The socio-economic pressures weigh heavily against the victim of Domestic Violence who wants to leave the relationship.  Victims are usually isolated financially without the means to help while clergy and counselors emphasize the benefits of preserving the relationship.  For many, the social stigma of becoming a victim  prevents them from reaching outside the relationship for help while other victims are isolated from the community, family and friends by their batterers.  In either case, the victims face a community that is not willing to accept the truth about the batterer or that  real problem exists.

In Cherokee County there are resources for victims to turn to.  The Cherokee Family Violence Center offers a crisis hotline and a shelter to accept the victims fleeing a violent relationship.  Once there, the staff offers counselors that can help victims obtain restraining orders against their abusers, obtain financial resources to get the family on its feet and look for employment.  There is counseling available to victims and their non-offending family members to help cope with the emotional impact of the violence.  The Cherokee County Family Violence Center Center has the countries’ first Transitional Housing program that can place qualified families in to safe, stable affordable housing to help a family wracked by violence achieve independence. 

The month of October is more than just a time to remember those who have endured or are still trapped by Domestic Violence but to become more aware of its presence in our community and society.  A society that is aware of its signs and its impacts will make this crime socially unacceptable and make it possible to break the cycle of violence that many families live in.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sarah Cool October 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Overall this article gives a good basic overview of Domestic Violence. I appreciate Patch bringing to light this issue, as it is a well known fact that worldwide one in three woman are, have been or will be physically abused in their lifetimes by a partner. There is a problem with one sentence in this article which I would like to addres. If you personally have been a victim of Domestic Violence yourself, Mr. Ballinger, and want to personally claim this statement as being true in your case: "Many victims will provoke the violence in order to get to the following calm." then I'll accept it as being your experience. However, as a 20 year victim in two abusive relationships with both my daughters' fathers, and having now been through several years of individual and group therapy, as well as having a BA in Paychology, I have NEVER known it to be acceptable to blame the victim nor allow the victim to accept blame as you suggest with that statement. Perhaps you would like to retract that sentence? I look forward to your quick reply.
Eric A. Ballinger October 01, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Sarah: My statement "Many victims will provoke the violence in order to get to the following calm." was not intended to blame the victim of violence or to lend any sort of justification for the use of violence. I have represented victims of domestic violence for the last nineteen years and train other lawyers to handle domestic violence cases. That sentence was intended to speak to the conditioned response many victims have to the violent nature of their relationship. I have found this to be a sad coping mechanism many former clients have used to survive their relationship. It is sad because it both gives the attacker some level of justification, making any court action much more difficult and it is sad victims actually know it will be better for a while once the batterer has exploded and they can return to the "honeymoon" phase of the domestic violence cycle. I am sorry if my statement has offended you but I can certainly assure you it is taken out of context of the entire article.
Sarah Cool October 01, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Thank you for your response, Mr. Ballinger. As a victim, it has been important for me to learn that I am not at fault for any of the abuse I incurred over two decades from two different partners. That particular statement made me cringe. As I said, the article overall is spot on. I think it is imperative that abused women know that they are not to blame, not the only one, and not alone. One other thing I would like to add is that there is a National Domestic Abuse Hotline that anyone can call for further information and resources: 1-800-799-7233, as well as their website to access www.thehotline.org. Of course with the caution to do so from a safe location, phone and/or computer. Again, I thank Patch and you, Mr. Ballinger, for bringing this issue to the forefront. Although I have been out of my most recent abusive relationship for several years now, I still struggle with the effects of it daily, and likely will for the rest of my life.
Eric A. Ballinger October 01, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Sarah: Thank you for your comments. I am glad you are safe now and can offer your life as an example to those who are trying to leave their violent relationship. Violence within the family is never acceptable.
Niki October 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
So glad to see Patch and some of the local experts bringing attention to this important issue!

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