Domestic violence happens in every state, every economic background and Seattle is not excluded from this often swept under the rug crime. Think of your close circle of Seattleites, have you ever suspected domestic abuse or violence?
“Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.” Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Dep’t of Justice.
According to the 2008 Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs of the 71,786 violent crimes in Washington State 32,074 were domestic violence. Instead of viewing that as 44%, just a number, think about each person, each family and the magnitude of people living in our communities going through this fear and turmoil.
What should I do if I suspect domestic violence or abuse?
– Ask. Take the person to a safe location such as lunch, a drive, a movie or even a walk and tell them you’re concerned. They may not tell you this time, but the communication door is open. Make sure they know they can always call you or come to you, this may allow them a feeling of escape instead of feeling trapped or isolated.
– Observe. Have there been recent changes in their behavior? Do they seem more isolated, not ‘allowed’ to see you as much? Notate any physical evidence or if you see/hear threatening emails, texts/voicemails/conversations, it may be very helpful to them if they go to court for protection later. Your statements to a judge may be the deciding factor in a protection order.
Seattle law enforcement is an excellent ally. They are trained to ask the right questions, analyze the situation and provide guidance to obtaining a protection order. Do not be afraid to call 911 for yourself or someone that is being abused. When an officer arrives, that incident is documented. Abusers often threaten repercussions if you call for help. It is critical that you get help immediately. No one can help if no one knows.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, don’t turn away, don’t think it will resolve itself- it won’t. Get help. Stand up for someone who can’t. Together we can raise awareness and reduce this crime.
Local domestic violence help:
New Beginnings (206) 522-9472
Eastside Domestic Violence Program (425) 746-1940
D.A.W.N. (Domestic Abused Women’s Network) (425) 656-7867
Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 562-6025
Protection Orders (King County) (206) 296-9547
Join Facebook and Twitter groups:
STOP Domestic Violence and Abuse
People Against Domestic Violence