By Theresa M Racine
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Statistics show that it should be recognized every day of the month. Women, men, those who are straight and those of the LGBTQ+ community can experience domestic violence day in and day out. For most, the signs of abuse can be unrecognizable. By the time someone realizes they are in an abusive relationship, it is almost too late to leave the situation. In the last police meeting I attended in the Rockaways, the Domestic Violence officer said, “There was an uptick in the numbers of the Domestic Violence calls.”
This is why a community at large should be educated, learning how to lobby to change laws for victims, and to get help for the abuser. Many times, the abuser of domestic violence has been through their own trauma. Some have experienced a series of abuse from their own childhood. Seeing their mom and dad fighting day in and day out, negative words are being thrown all over the place. So the abuser feels that this is how life works, and the person who is taking the abuse feels they either can make it through and things will change, or they need to be the one to help the person. The abuser uses gaslighting tactics, speaking ill of their partners, making the person they are with feel a certain way about themselves. The victim of abuse starts to feel that they have no one to turn to, feeling hopeless, gets depressed and feels there is no way out. Their self-esteem is shattered and sometimes they lose sense of reality. Some might wonder “where will my kids and I go?” Some have animals they do not want to separate from. Some feel they don’t have the financial capacity to leave. Victims of abuse will oftentimes make excuses for the abuse, as they feel there is no way out of their situation.
This article serves to help victims. According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner in the U.S. “1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact, sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking,” says NCADV. But Domestic violence doesn’t always mean being physically hurt. Abuse comes in various forms, whether it be emotional, financial, verbal, physical, sexual, mental, psychological or cultural/ identity.
“How does one get out?” In the beginning of all relationships, there are always some red flags, even if it is subtle. The abuser knows that if they isolate you from everyone, they have more power and control over the victim. So, if you find yourself always being with that person, your family disappears and your friends are almost obsolete, you’re not seeing them as much, perhaps you need to evaluate the situation and “Get Out!”
The obvious form of abuse, which for some may not be, is name calling. Some victims themselves have not had the greatest upbringing. They are programmed to believe what they have been told about themselves, in a negative way, and they sometimes require counseling to reprogram their mind to start believing that they are beautiful, they are strong, they are victorious, and they deserve better.
If you believe you are experiencing abuse, “Get Out!” as soon as possible. You are not alone! For the abuser, you need to recognize and get the help you need. The Domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233 or check out www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org. Don’t be afraid to utilize these resources. Locally, the 100th Precinct DV Unit can be reached at: 718-318-4251 or firstname.lastname@example.org and the 101st Precinct DV Unit can be reached at: 718- 868-3443 or Jeffrey.Thompson@nypd.org
There is help for everyone. On Friday, October 20, 2023, I will be hosting a Domestic Violence Awareness event called, “Homage to Tina Turner and Friends,” from 3 to 6 p.m. at Rockaway Beach Blvd. & Beach 84th Street. So come with your best Tina Turner look or one of her friends. We will be having a contest for the best look, the best singer and the best lip sync performance. We will show the documentary, “Simply The Best,” provide resources, speakers, food, DJ music, and prizes. Come be a part of something larger than yourselves. If poor weather, the indoor venue will be Saint Rose of Lima Church (130 Beach 84th Street). For more information, contact Theresa Racine at 646-408-1200.