By Linda Oberhaus
CEO The Shelter for Abused Women & Children
Domestic violence impacts millions of people each year, but it can be prevented. It requires the collective voice and power of individuals, families, institutions, and systems – each whose “one thing” adds a valuable and powerful component to transforming our communities.
That is why during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), The Shelter is asking “What is the #1Thing you can do to end domestic violence?”
Many people care and understand that domestic violence is a serious public health problem. They want to do something but believe their actions can’t make a difference. It feels overwhelming. But change can start with only #1Thing. Imagine if all of people in Immokalee committed to doing just one thing to stop domestic violence — we could really see some serious social transformation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
In 2018, The Shelter served over 1,700 victims of abuse and violence alone. That is why we need everyone – advocates, medical professionals, educators, survivors, researchers, policy makers, law enforcement officers, business owners, students, and more, to do at least one thing (#1Thing) to stop domestic violence here in Immokalee. Below are some ideas:
• Attend The Shelters DVAM activities to raise awareness – the Immokalee Children’s Fair will be held from 3-6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21, at the Immokalee Sports Complex.
• Be a caring and consistent adult in the life of a child
• Talk to loved ones about violence and oppression
• Use social media to raise awareness among your peers
• Reach out to The Shelter to learn how you can help (administrative phone is 239.775.3862)
• Listen to and validate a survivor of trauma
It is important to know the warning signs of abuse – seek help if your partner:
• Constantly puts you down
• Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
• Checks your cellphone or email without your permission
• Threatens to hurt you, your family, or your pets
• Physically hurts you in any way
• Isolates you from family and/or friends
• Limits your access to money, the phone, or the car
• Blames you for his/her hurtful behavior
You are not alone. Free help is available at The Shelter – for more information, call our crisis line at 239.775-1101.