By Christie Jackson, Marketing & Development Fellow
At Alternatives For Girls, we recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence (DV) is a public health issue that disproportionately impacts young women and girls. Although abuse is typically understood as physical, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or family member. These behaviors can be subtle to severe, and they include physical and sexual violence, as well as emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.
Although people of all gender, race and class backgrounds are impacted by DV, one in four women in the U.S have reported experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, and young women between the ages of 18-24 are most at risk of domestic violence, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC).
Community intervention is a powerful source of safety and empowerment. Here are ways you can help stop DV in your community.
- Each One Teach One- Learn about the dynamics of domestic violence versus healthy relationships. Unlearn harmful social norms, such as victim blaming, supporting perpetrators, and ignoring abuse. Teach social-emotional wellness and domestic violence dynamics to other people in your community who voice incorrect and harmful views on relationships.
- Be a Better Bystander : A great bystander safely intervenes and potentially diffuses harassment and abuse. Studies have shown that bystander intervention effectively lowers rates of violence and fosters a safe environment. To become a great bystander, learn the signs of domestic violence, and create a plan for how you will intervene if someone you see or know experiences abuse. NoMore.org offers training and resources to learn more for yourself and your community members.
- Mobilize Men and Boys as Allies: Engage men and boys in the community in the effort to prevent domestic violence, and offer programs and tools that model non-violent, healthy relationships and bystander intervention. Male allies play a significant role in reducing domestic violence perpetration and negative bystander behaviors, such as laughing or encouragement.
- Create Safe Spaces- Support policies that improve climate and safety in schools and workplaces. Ensure that pre-existing policies, such as Title IX, are being implemented effectively.
- Support Survivors- Center the needs of survivors in your community. Donate and volunteer at organizations that offer survivor-centered services. Collaborate with community members and organizations to provide essential needs and economic opportunities for people escaping violence.
- YWCA Interim House Metro Detroit
- Phone: 313.862.3580
- Crisis: 313.861.5300
- YWCA Interim House offers services to battered women and their children in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment.
- HAVEN Residential Shelter
- Crisis: 248-334-1274
- Toll Free Crisis Line: 877-922-1274
- HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy, and educational programming.