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October Is Domestic Violence Month
Updated October 6, 2015 3:22 PM
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(LAWRENCE CO.) - Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.

This is why the Lawrence County Coalition Against Domestic Violence is asking everyone to wear purple on October 16th to bringing awareness to the increasing problem.

Lawrence County Police and Lawrence County Volunteer Fire Departments have purple ribbons on their police vehicle and first responder units. You can show your support for victims and survivors of domestic violence by wearing purple.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn't "play fair." Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumbs. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate; it happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused - especially verbally, emotionally, physically.

The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it's coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe.

Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain - and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

The Lawrence County Domestic Violence Coalition is the voice of victims and survivors. The Domestic Violence Coalition was established in 2011 as a result of a study conducted in Lawrence County by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence," says Bedford Police Chief Dennis Parsley, who is a member of the coalition. "We do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change."

If you are being abused by your partner, know there is nothing you have done or are doing to cause the abuse. It is solely the choice of the abuser to abuse. It may seem impossible to escape your abuser, change your circumstances, or find the help you need, but it is possible.

If you are a victim, there is help. All you have to do is ask or call the following numbers:

  • 24 Hour Crisis Line 1-888-883-1959
  • National DV Hotline 1-800-799-7233
  • Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline 1-866-331-9474
If you feel you can't call, you can seek help anywhere you see the domestic violence purple ribbon.

Many times, volunteer fire departments' first responders are the first on the scene after someone is injured in a domestic violence situation. Those men and women are there to offer help.

"Lots of times victims are afraid and can't ask for help. But they can let us know without uttering a word... just simply by answering our questions with a head nod," says Shawswick Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Brown. "We will see they get the help they need. We know victims are scared, but there are individuals that will help them and their children... and we can do this without drawing attention to the victim."

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