‘No’ still means no — every time

Where has the summer gone? If you are reading this today, remember that Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend.

Before I get to my topic today, here are a few other events you might want to add to your calendar: Columbus Day, or in some locations Indigenous Peoples Day, is celebrated on Oct. 12 and Boss’s Day is on Oct. 16. A big event for the kiddos is Halloween on Oct. 31 — I think each community will decide if door-to-door treating will be permitted.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systemic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically. Here are the five types of domestic violence with explanations of each:

EMOTIONAL — (also called mental abuse) This begins slowly and increases over time. The victim is degraded and feels that it must be their fault; therefore, somehow, they deserve the abuse.

FINANCIAL — The abuser withholds money from the victim or doesn’t provide for his family. He may even take his partner’s paycheck, leaving her with no money.

PHYSICAL — This means broken bones, bruises or other injuries that cannot be explained away. This is the most common form of abuse.

SOCIAL — This type of abuse is when your partner attempts to isolate you from your family, not allowing you to associate with your friends.

SEXUAL — This is known as the “Silent Crime,” making you do sexual things that you do not want to do. It can involve threatening younger children to keep secrets or your partner forcing himself on you, even when you say no. From 2016 through 2018 the number of rape/sexual assault victimizations in the United States increased 146%.

‘No’ still means no!

Let us look at some national statistics that come from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, PTSD, fearfulness, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted disease, etc.

One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered “DV.”

One in seven women and one in 25 men have been injured at least once by an intimate partner.

One in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner.

One in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

On a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide in the U.S.

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

Intimate partner violence accounts for 15-20% of all violent crime.

Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. According to the Department of Justice, intimate partner violence is very prevalent on college campuses, with estimates of dating violence ranging from 10-50%.

Nineteen percent of domestic violence instances includes a weapon.

Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

So, what about COVID-19 and domestic violence? The United States recorded its first coronavirus-related death at the end of February, and businesses began closing in mid-March when President Trump declared a national emergency. Soon after, on March 16, six counties in California’s Bay Area issued one of the first major shelter-in-place orders, which was soon followed by other cities and statewide orders. That’s when police and domestic violence service providers say they began seeing an escalation in calls. That scenario played out across our country and nation. For example, Salt Lake City Police Department reported that weekly domestic violence cases jumped from 73 to 96 in mid-March.

A Montgomery Police Department, just outside of Washington, D.C., recorded 13% fewer call dispatches and more than a third fewer criminal incidents in the last two weeks of March compared with the previous six weeks. But cases of domestic violence there spiked. Police saw an average of 39 a day. So as people are in quarantine, police calls for domestic disturbances and violence surged by 10-30%.

Domestic violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, religion or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. It can result in physical injury, psychological trauma and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

Here are some domestic violence-related firearms laws in Ohio:

Ohio prohibits domestic violence misdemeanants from possessing concealed carry permits.

When issuing temporary and permanent protective orders, Ohio judges are authorized to order whatever relief they deem necessary to protect victims and survivors. This may include prohibiting firearm possession and requiring prohibited persons to surrender their firearms. This relief is not available to dating partners.

When responding to domestic violence incidents, law enforcement is required to confiscate firearms if they have been used to threaten or harm victims.

Ohio can strength its laws to protect victims and survivors by:

Prohibiting domestic violence, dating violence and stalking misdemeanants from possessing any firearms.

Prohibiting respondents, including dating partners, to temporary and permanent protective orders from possessing firearms.

Requiring persons prohibited due to domestic violence to surrender their firearms.

Requiring law enforcement to confiscate firearms when responding to all domestic violence calls.

Requiring background checks for all sales and transfers.

If you find yourself in need of help for this topic, please know that it is NOT your fault. In an emergency call 911. The 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233. The 24/7 Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is 800-656-4673. We also have a wonderful organization locally in the Tri-County Help Center, St. Clairsville. It can be reached at 740-695-5441 or in an emergency at 1-800-695-1639.

I have first-hand knowledge of experiencing domestic violence. That is why this is near to my heart. I hope that if you need help yourself, or know someone who does, you will please pass this column along.


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