Domestic violence is more common than it should be and there needs to be more done to protect victims. It does not matter where you come from, how old you are, your education level, or your community because it crosses all walks of life. Domestic violence can affect anyone and there are signs people need to be able to recognize in order to protect themselves and others.

          Domestic violence is not only physical violence but is still just as detrimental to the victims. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) states abuse includes willful intimidation or anything else that is “part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.” It looks different to every person it affects, but will still leave lasting effects on the victims.

            Abusers may be able to forget and move on, but for most victims that survive, that will never be the reality. 

           Domestic violence happens in staggering rates. According to NCADV, nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner like slapping or pushing. In Tennessee, 40% of women and 32.5% of men will experience physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. The presence of a gun in a home increases the risk of homicide by 500% as well.

            These statistics are heartbreaking. No one deserves to experience this kind of violence because the people doing this to the victims were supposed to love them. 

          The rates of domestic abuse show that the majority of people will know someone or experience this themselves. Just like anyone can be a victim of abuse, abusers can be anyone as well. The majority of abusers only have a violent history with their intimate partners.

          It is imperative to know the signs of abuse so that something can be done quickly to help the victims of abuse. Red flags that someone may be an abuser include being extremely jealous, very possessive, extremely controlling behaviors, blaming the victim, and separating the victim from family and friends. 

          If you or someone you know is with someone that does these things, there are resources available to help get away from them. There’s a national hotline available if anyone needs to talk. The numbers are 1-800-799-7233, for deaf/hard of hearing 1-855-812-1011 (VP) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). It is free to use and confidential.

There is also an emergency shelter in Clarksville available called Urban Ministries Safe House. Nashville has The Mary Parrish Center For Victims Of Domestic & Sexual Violence. Both of these shelters only accept women and their children.  

          Currently, in Nashville and Clarksville, there are no domestic violence shelters that accept male victims of violence. This absolutely needs to change because even though women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, men experience it as well and should have the resources available to leave their abusers too. 

           Domestic violence shouldn’t exist, but because it does people need to be educated about the signs and resources available to victims. The victims of domestic violence may not be able to leave without assistance because there are more factors in leaving than just wanting to. Victims of domestic abuse are not to blame. There should be more resources established so that people can leave their abusers.