By RYLEE MOORE
Many people don’t know that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., and over 10 million people are abused per year.
One in four women and one in nine men, experience severe intimate partner violence.
In the LGBTQ+ community, 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced intimate partner abuse.
Alongside that, 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced intimate partner abuse. A shocking 30%-50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner abuse in their lifetime.
Intimate partner violence happens so often that it accounts for 15% of all violent crime. In Texas specifically, 40.1% of women and 34.9% of men experience physical violence from an intimate partner. These experiences often lead to physical and mental health related issues.
Some cases that you may have heard of are Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, and Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. Anyone can be a victim, from celebrities to your next-door neighbor.
It’s important to be able to see the warning signs that someone may be being abused. Some signs are physical markings such as black eyes or other bruises, marks around the neck area and busted lips. Emotional signs can be constant anxiety, loss of interest in daily activities, seeming fearful and low self-esteem.
Eventually, the abuse leads to behavioral changes in victims. Becoming reserved, canceling outings and having excessive privacy about their relationship and/or personal life are possible changes.
If you notice any of these signs and have reason to be concerned, make time to talk to that person. Tell them why you’re worried.
Let them know that anything they say is safe with you. Listen without judging them. Offer your assurance because it’s not their fault, and help them get the help they need.
Victims are often scared to leave their partners. They don’t want to get caught and get hurt worse, maybe there’s children involved, or they don’t have a way to leave. Victims need support if they’re going to leave.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence, it may feel impossible to escape your abuser, or get the help you need, but it is possible. You know your abuser best, so think through your situation, form a plan and do what is best for you.
If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from domestic violence please call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224. It’s completely anonymous, confidential and it’s available 24/7. The Amarillo hotline is 806-374-5433. If there is an emergency, or your life is in danger, please call 911.