October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a designation recognizing that domestic violence affects millions of people, both women and men, across all sectors of society.
Throughout the United States, families and friends of victims gather during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to honor and remember victims who have lost their lives at the hands of another person they once trusted.
Domestic violence includes not only physical and sexual violence, but verbal threats, humiliation, stalking, manipulation and isolation. Nearly everyone knows of someone who has been violated or is living through domestic violence.
According to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System, during 2017 a total of 77,846 offenses in the state were flagged as domestic related, and of those, 52,118 were reported as simple assault. About 35,770 domestic violence cases were flagged as boyfriend/girlfriend cases.
Females were three times more likely to be victimized than males, accounting for 71.5 percent of all domestic violence victims.
Males accounted for the other 28.4 percent, and juveniles made up 9.8 percent of the reported victim types in the same year. Domestic violence resulted in 81 murder victims in the state in 2017.
Local, state and national agencies, including law enforcement and social and children’s services, avidly oppose domestic violence and advocate for its victims. These institutions and coalitions battle domestic abuse by providing prevention, training, intervention, shelter and counseling for both victims and potential victims of domestic violence.
Survivors frequently face several obstacles that prevent them from accessing safety and justice. Some of those include the need for housing, resources, a lack of financial assets, childcare needs, social isolation and more.
Help for victims of domestic violence is available through the Tennessee Domestic Violence Helpline by calling 800-356-6767. Counselors are available 24/7 to offer referrals and supportive listening, and help with safety planning. Calls may be made anonymously and anyone can call the helpline.
Haven of Hope, a domestic abuse shelter that serves several counties in the southern Middle Tennessee area, provides crisis intervention, education and advocacy, support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in Lincoln, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Moore and Marshall counties. Haven of Hope provides proactive, curative and preventive measures against domestic and other violent crimes; providing resources to strengthen and empower victims to resolve their own problems and issues. Their phone number in Tullahoma is 1-800-393-2383.