Women’s and Children’s Alliance Kicks off Domestic Violence Awareness Month; Be Aware of these Relationship Red Flags
You'll see pink everything over the next 30 days: pink coffee cup lids, pink ribbons, pink beads...in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. But it's important to throw a splash of purple into the mix since October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Women's and Children's Alliance begins Domestic Violence every year with the SueB 5K (and 10K, new in 2017.) The run/walk, now in it's 8th year, the race is held in memory of Treasure Valley Resident, Susan Elaine Brubaker Newby. Sue passed away in 2008 after a mysterious horseback riding incident. It wasn't until she lost her life that those close to her started connecting the dots that their friend was likely in an abusive marriage. Her friends and family tell the WCA that she stopped showing up for holiday events, something that always meant a lot to SueB.
Sue's sister, Marjory and several friends reached out to the WCA to create the race in memory of Sue and to serve as a way to raise awareness about domestic violence so that others can recognize the signs before its too late. By being hyper aware of these signs, you may be able to get a loved one help and out of a bad situation before it escalates.
Not all signs of domestic violence are as obvious as black eyes and bruises. According to the WCA, all of the following things can be signs of domestic violence. The following red flags were displayed on yard signs along the race course on Sunday, October 1st, but if you weren't there we wanted to make sure to share this information for you.
- Intimidation: When one partner scares the other by using looks, actions and gestures. This could also include breaking things, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
- Emotional Abuse: One partner will undercut the other by playing on low self esteem, calling the other names, making the other feel guilty or humiliating them.
- Isolation: This is one of the signs that will often go unnoticed and was the case with SueB. This is when one partner controls who the other socialize with and what hobbies/activities they engage in. The abusive partner will sometimes justify these things by saying they're jealous.
- Minimizing: The abusive partner will not take concerns of others seriously, often claiming the abuse didn't happen at all or by putting the blame for their actions on someone else.
- Using Children: Common in divorce situations, the abusive partner will actually use their children to deliver abusive messages and use the custody hand offs as a way to harass the other partner. They may also threaten to take the kids away if their partner reports the abuse.
- Male Privilege: Obviously referring to a situation where the abuser is male, this type of abuse is where he'll take on ALL big decision making and will act as the king of the castle. The woman in this situation may be treated like a servant or a maid, rather than an equal in the relationship.
- Economic: This is when one partner prevents the other from having any financial independence. They may keep the other from keeping a job, having any access to their bank account or making them act like a child asking for allowance.
- Coercion/Threats: This is one of the scariest types of domestic violence. One partner may force the other into doing something illegal or make threats like they will kill themselves if the other leaves. They may actually follow through on threats to physically harm the other as well.
If you do have a friend experiencing anything similar to the signs of abuse above (or are experiencing them yourself,) you can call the WCA's 24 Hour Crisis Line at 208-343-7025. If you are planning to leave an abusive partner, they also recommend collecting as many important documents as you can. Those include birth certificates, IDs, social security cards, etc.