Author: Catholic Charities Published:
--October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month--
In light of several recent domestic-violence related homicides in the community, Harbor House domestic violence shelter, SAFE Project and other Catholic Charities survivor outreach services are asking the community to help raise awareness of the issue this October by participating in the #PurpleThursdayICT social media campaign.
This year’s theme is, Know the Warning Signs of Domestic Violence. Catholic Charities’ goal is to educate the community on what to look for if someone is being physically or mentally abused or isolated, and how everyone can help the situation and increase safety.
“Domestic violence is becoming more lethal, including four homicide incidents in five weeks in Wichita this past summer,” said
Keri McGregor, Harbor House at Catholic Charities director. “As a community, we have to learn and recognize the warning signs, so we can act or intervene quicker.”
Last year, nearly 50 businesses and organizations participated in a similar awareness campaign. Groups dressed in purple on Thursdays and took photos which were spread via the PurpleThursdayICT hashtag. Others hosted Stuff the Box donation drives for the Harbor House shelter, and still others wore awareness bracelets and hosted educational presentations on domestic violence.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to possibilities for #PurpleThursdayICT advocacy and participation,” McGregor said. “The important part is to learn the warning signs, share them via the hashtag and promise to act to end domestic violence for good.”
Know the Warning Signs –
Does your partner or a loved one’s partner act jealous and possessive, control what you do or see you as property?...
- Ask questions: A person experiencing domestic violence will more than likely disclose their situation if asked the right questions in a safe environment.
- Believe your friend, family member or colleague: Not being believed can be a big fear of someone in an abusive relationship. They have likely been made to think they deserve the abuse.
- Keep information confidential: Telling anyone else about the abuse may put the victim in greater danger. It also jeopardizes the trust you’ve built with the person in the abusive relationship.
- Safety first: Offer your friend, family member or colleague resources. The SAFE Project, for instance, can respond quickly (316-264-8344 ext. 3113), and Harbor House is open 24 hours a day (316.263.6000 Hotline).
How to Increase Safety for Your Loved One and Yourself:
- Help your loved one create a plan where they can go in an emergency.
- Agree on a code word or signal that your loved one can use to let you know they need help.
- Find out how the police and the legal system can help protect your loved one.
- Help prepare an "escape bag" with money, keys, clothes, bank cards, birth certificates, etc. that can be hidden in a safe place.
- Be careful and don't place yourself in a position where the person being abusive can harm or manipulate you.
- Don't intervene directly if you witness abuse - call the police instead.