October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic abuse doesn't only affect adults. Children also get caught up in the violence, and it often leads to cyclical results.


While every day is a perfect day to focus on domestic violence awareness, October serves as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for domestic violence victims and those who serve them to speak out in a unified voice to combat domestic violence and challenge people in America in all walks of life to support the countless programs that provide support and services to victims.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimated 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year while an estimated 1-in-4 women and 1-in-7 men will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point during their lifetimes.

Those numbers are frightening, but the hope is through awareness and a willingness for others to voice their thoughts when they believe someone is being abused, the nation will trend toward creating safer and more loving relationships in the home.

On Monday, Oct. 5, the Holmes County commissioners signed a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Tina Zickefoose, One-Eighty advocate/outreach specialist, said she is grateful to live in a county that is willing to invest its time and resources into advocating for those who have suffered domestic violence. She said 2019 was an uncommonly busy year for One-Eighty in Holmes County but said the current year has seen numbers dip back toward the norm.

“Last year was an unprecedented year,” Zickefoose said. “I have never had so many clients. Now this year it is more back to normal, despite COVID. Wayne County is just bombed right now. They can’t keep up, so we are blessed that we don’t have that problem here.”

Zickefoose said she couldn’t pinpoint the exact reasons domestic violence cases were up so much in 2019, but she said the victim’s assistance in the prosecutor’s office, members of 58:12, the Holmes County and Village of Millersburg Police Department and others have been very good about referring, a positive that could have added to the numbers.

“They are taking time and doing warm hand-offs, and I think because of that people are more comfortable coming in,” Zickefoose said.

As for the onset of COVID-19, Zickefoose said they haven’t seen a big growth in services and reports of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is described as any physical assault including shoving, pushing, restraining, hitting or kicking; sexual assault that takes place any time one partner forces sexual acts that are unwanted or declined by the other partner; psychological assault that includes isolation from family and friends, forced financial dependence, verbal and emotional abuse, threats, intimidation, and control over the partner’s activities; and attacks against property and pets including destruction of property, household objects or treasured objects belonging to the victim or abusing or killing beloved pets.

“We appreciate everything (One-Eighty) does for our community,” commissioner Rob Ault said to Zickefoose.

“It is also something that everybody needs to be aware of,” commissioner Ray Eyler said. “Rather than trying to hide it, it needs to be brought out.”

Zickefoose agreed that in the many small, rural communities dotting Holmes County, everyone knows everyone, and rumors and tales travel well, making it harder for people to willingly share cases of domestic abuse due to fear of being labeled.

“We are a small community, and there is a stigma there,” Zickefoose said of domestic abuse. “People don’t want everybody else knowing their business, so it is hard enough for people to come to me. It’s uncomfortable for people because so often it’s generational. So when someone steps up to say something about it, it’s like taboo.”

Finally, Zickefoose said nobody is born an abuser or a rapist, but it is a learned trait. She said the hope is that through awareness and education, the number of domestic violence cases can be reduced.

In his recently signed proclamation, President Donald Trump said, “All Americans deserve a life free from the threat of physical and psychological harm. Tragically, far too many Americans are deprived of this right by perpetrators of domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we offer our support to the victims and survivors of this unacceptable atrocity and reaffirm our commitment to bringing justice to their abusers and offering hope to those who currently reside in volatile and unsafe living conditions. Domestic violence is an evil that threatens the social fabric of our nation. It is a widespread attack on the most sacred and intimate of institutions — the American family.

"Domestic violence tears families apart with devastating consequences that can last for generations. There is no room for violence of any kind in our country. This month we recognize that the victims and survivors of the unspeakable ordeal of domestic violence deserve our compassion, respect and support. Let us marshal every tool at our disposal to continue the national, sustained and coordinated campaign to end domestic violence forever.”

All communities are asked to unite this month in celebrating survivors, congratulating advocates, empowering victims and honoring those lost to domestic violence.

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