October is Domestic-Violence-Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Family violence is the number one cause of emergency room visits by women. Children in homes with domestic violence have a greater chance of becoming juvenile delinquents committing violent crimes and have a greater chance of becoming adult domestic victims or abusers.

The FBI reports that a woman is battered in this country every 12 seconds. According to the New Jersey Uniform Crime Report, an act of domestic violence takes place every 6 minutes somewhere in our state. New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Law is among the toughest in the nation. The law specifies situations in which the police must make arrests and the courts must act to protect victims.

Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive domination and control based on or supported by violence and emotional manipulation. An abuser uses or threatens to use violence to coerce his/her victim to comply. Victims suffer varying degrees of injuries including bruises, fractures, burns, cuts, scrapes, and head trauma. Abusers also use emotional and psychological abuse by systematically degrading and humiliating the victim by name calling, interrupting the victim’s sleep, controlling access to money, blaming the victim for provoking attacks and isolating the victim from friends and family.

It is common for the abuser to threaten to kill or severely injure the victim or kidnap the children if the victim reports the incident or leaves him/her. Statistics show that the most dangerous time for the victim is when he/she leaves the abusive situation.

So how do we help? If you can, volunteer. Contact your local police department and ask if they have a domestic violence response unit and if they need volunteers. Read the free resource, Domestic Violence, The Law & You to become better informed and know your rights and the next steps. Take a self-defense course to be able to protect yourself and your family. And above all, be aware and know that you are not alone.

**Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO/Founder & Personal Safety Expert of Women's Self-Defense Institute providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.

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