October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month | Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter

LWMSeptOct2014-Final_Page_24Did you know that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime? That every 9 seconds a woman is abused? That each year at least 1.3 million women will be assaulted by an intimate partner? Domestic violence happens in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, ethnicity, or educational background. As a community, it is important that we are all aware of the devastating effects of domestic violence and how to help someone in need.

Abusive behavior in a relationship can look like many things. Often, we think about domestic violence in terms of physical assaults—hitting, kicking, pushing, punching. But for many victims, the effects of emotional abuse are just as harmful. Name calling, threats and intimidation, manipulation, and isolation from friends and family are just some of the ways an abusive partner may try to control a victim of domestic violence.

Creating a “safety plan” is an important step for a victim of domestic violence. If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, some things to consider when making a safety plan are:

• Keep a bag with clothes, important documents and phone numbers, some money, and extra keys in a safe place
that you can access easily if you need to leave your home quickly.
• Have a secret “code word” to use with a friend, your child, or a neighbor that lets them know that you need them
to call for emergency help.
• During a violent incident, avoid higher risk areas of your home such as the kitchen or bathroom. These areas
have hard surfaces and increase access to dangerous objects. Try to avoid places without outside exits.
• Decide in advance where you will go if you need to leave your home during an incident.
• Use precaution when using email or electronic communication with others. To learn more about technology
safety, visit: http://nnedv.org/
• Learn more about your rights and what services may be available to you.

Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) is a private, nonprofit organization that provides assistance to any survivor of domestic and sexual abuse in Loudoun County.

To learn more, visit www.lcsj.org or call the LAWS 24-hour hotline at 703-777-6552
105 East Market Street • Leesburg, VA 20176

By Nicole Acosta, LCSW

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