October is the month known for tricks, treats and fun Halloween costumes, but October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
Domestic violence includes various types of abuse in intimate relationships. However, physical is just one type of domestic abuse.
Verbal, sexual and physical abuse in relationships are also considered domestic violence.
In domestic disputes, the abusive partner typically tries to make their significant other feel frightened, humiliated, injured and estranged from friends and family.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.
While the violence can happen in heterosexual, gay, lesbian, adult and teen relationships, Joel Bolling, coordinator of the LGBTQIA Resource Center at UMKC, said it’s ability to affect everyone is often ignored.
“Domestic violence is viewed as something just between heterosexual couples,” Bolling said. “But it does happen with same-sex couples.”
“Many police, social workers, and health care providers will not recognize it as domestic violence,” Bolling added.
He hopes projects like the Brown Bag Lunch, which includes speakers from LGBTQIA on Oct. 20, will help raise the awareness of domestic violence within homosexual relationships.
The UMKC Women’s Center has also taken a stand for DVAM by sponsoring the Clothesline Project. This event will take place outside the Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall Oct. 1-8.
Shirts decorated by UMKC community members will be hung on a clothesline to visually express emotions from female victims of domestic violence. The LGBTQIA and UMKC’s Women’s Center community are working to make people aware of domestic violence.
“It’s just under-reported, and there [is] still a lot more work to do in all communities,” said Kerra McCorkle, Violence Prevention Coordinator of the Women’s Center.
McCorkle said women, men and teens often do not report the abuse because of the fear and ignorance people have of domestic violence in the community.
There are many different signs of domestic violence to watch for in relationships. To help friends or family members you think are in a domestic violent situation, look for these signs:
1. Your friend’s partner acts extremely jealous when they talk to other people, even when it’s innocent.
2. They frequently cancel plans last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
3. Your friend’s partner always checks up on them, demanding to know where they have been and who they have been with.
4. Their weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which may indicate abuse.
5. They give up things that used to be important to them, such as spending time with friends or other activities.
To learn other signs of domestic violence, visit www.loveisnotabuse.com. The site highlights and explains more about the different types of domestic violence, as well as how to recognize and report domestic violence.