Domestic violence affects all of us

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Tribune editorial staff

Domestic violence is a national concern that affects thousands of people of all ages, races and economic levels every day.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and domestic violence programs across Ohio are sponsoring various events that mourn those who died as a result of domestic violence and bring public awareness to a major social problem.

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According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, 185,439 Ohioans, including 53,615 children, received some sort of domestic violence service in 2001. That same year, 11,091 people were placed in domestic violence shelters in Ohio.

As friends and family members, it can be difficult to know what to do when someone you care about is experiencing domestic violence. A lot of times, the person being abused refuses to report their aggressor to authorities. Here are a few ways you can help:

Ask lots of questions:

If you suspect domestic violence is occurring, ask how the relationship is going.

Ask about disagreements and tension that you observe in the relationship.

Give the victim positive feedback: Physically abusive relationships are also emotionally abusive, and all types of abuse lower the victim's self esteem. Some victims stay in the relationship

because they believe that they are to blame for the abuse. Remind the victim of


strengths and abilities and their importance to you.

Do not criticize the aggressor: Saying critical things about the aggressor also implies criticism of the

victim. Criticizing the abuser can cause distance in your relationship with the victim,

making them

less likely to come to you for support.

Call the police: If you witness or hear a violent episode, do not try to intervene physically. Call 911 immediately. When the police arrive,

ask to fill out a statement, and prepare yourself to testify in court.

Learn about community resources: You may want to help yourself by contacting the contact Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force at 532-7111 to educate yourself about domestic violence and learn more about community resources.

If we all work together, we can help minimize domestic violence in our communities.