October 18, 2018
By Angela Borders
Domestic Violence Awareness
This October is the 31st Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we at SacWellness want to take this time to help spread awareness of this issue and offer resources in the Sacramento region for those who may be struggling with domestic violence or who know someone who is.
What is domestic violence?
The Arizona Coalition to End Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as:
“Domestic violence is not physical violence alone. Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior; it is not caused by anger, mental problems, drugs or alcohol, or other common excuses.”
If you follow the above link, there is a list of several behaviors and actions that constitute domestic violence, ranging from emotional to physical abuse.
It’s important to draw this distinction: domestic violence is more than just physical violence. Far too often people don’t consider a behavior “abuse” or “violence” if there is not a physical threat of danger or actual assault, but all violence is violence, whether it involves mental and emotional abuse or physical abuse.
What causes domestic violence?
Another important distinction to make is about the cause of domestic violence; it is most definitely NOT the victim. Due to manipulation, domination, and gas lighting commonly found abusive relationships, some victims may find themselves feeling that they are to blame for the violence being afflicted on them, but this is simply. not. true.
Although the exact cause of the violent behavior may vary from individual to individual, generally speaking, it’s agreed that abuse is a learned behavior, or something that is a part of the abuser’s personality, not something the victim is accountable for.
PsychCentral explains this further:
“Some people with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control their partner, and that women aren’t equal to men. Others may have an undiagnosed personality disorder or psychological disorder. Still others may have learned this behavior from growing up in a household where domestic violence was accepted as a normal part of being raised in their family.
…often…abusers learn violent behavior from their family, people in their community and other cultural influences as they grow up. They may have seen violence often or they may have been victims themselves. Some abusers acknowledge growing up having been abused as a child.
Children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands. Although women are most often the victim of domestic violence, the gender roles can and are reversed sometimes.”
Who is affected by domestic violence?
The last important distinction we want to make about domestic violence is about who is affected by it. Many people assume only women experience domestic violence and this is incorrect.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has extensive statistics about the people who face this problem and where it occurs. If you follow the above link, you can find a further breakdown of domestic abuse by state, and here in California:
“32.9 % of California women and 27.3% of California men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.”
While the percentage may be higher for women, 27.3% of men is a staggering statistic too. Definitely know that this problem is not one that only women face.
Knowing the signs
NCADV also has a great page about knowing the signs of domestic violence, and if you or someone you know has worries about domestic violence, we recommend giving it a read.
The overall take away from this and other sites, as far as knowing the signs goes, is to watch out for controlling behavior. Anytime someone close to you is trying to limit, isolate, or control you, in any way big or small, this should be a big red flag. A truly healthy relationship means working together as equal partners, not one person dominating and controlling the other.
Some examples of this type of controlling behavior include, but are not limited to:
- jealousy when the victim is away from the abuser/with other people
- working to isolate the victim from other sources of support
- telling the victim s/he is worthless, or other negative comments meant to break down self esteem
- taking over big decisions in the victim’s life for him/her
- taking over small decisions like what to wear, eat, where to go
- destructive behavior towards the victim’s possessions
To clarify, this is not the same as consensual dominant behavior
Whether it’s because of adhering to traditional gender roles, participation in role play or BDSM, or just because of partners sharing responsibilities in certain ways, there are all sorts of reasons why a person may play a dominant or submissive role. However, there is a huge difference between things like role play, or falling into traditional gender roles consensually, and someone dominating another person by force. How people work out their family roles is an enormously complex thing, and that dynamic may involve some who are by nature more the captain of the family, or the one who makes most large decisions financially, etc. But there is a very clear line between a family member/partner/etc. willingly and happily relinquishing power, and someone taking it by force or manipulation.
If you or someone you know is struggling with domestic violence, please know that help is out there! Below is a list of just some of the resources people can turn to if they need help. Please, share them, pass them on, and spread the word that if anyone needs this kind of support it is out there!
***Since writing this article we have created a more complete l
Resources/Information on Restraining Orders
This link has information about different types of restraining orders, the process for obtaining one, and an FAQ
This specific information from the FAQ linked at the above resource may be especially helpful: FAQ. It explains different types of orders and the process for obtaining one.
This resource is a great place to find all kinds of information and help in regards to legal planning and information. Here, you can find a ton of information about Project Survive, which on the site states:
“We protect the rights of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to keep their jobs, take time off, and obtain accommodations while seeking safety or medical or legal help. We represent low-wage workers, provide community education, and advocate for policy change to expand survivors’ workplace rights. We provide free confidential legal advice through our Survive Helpline.”
That Help Line Number is 888 864 8335
Support Groups, Shelters, and More
Women Escaping a Violent Environment is a resource that helps women, children and men–so don’t let the name discourage you if you are underage or male! Their about us page states:
“Today WEAVE provides an array of crisis intervention, therapeutic and prevention services to meet the unique needs of survivors, their families, and the community. WEAVE’s services include a 24-hour Support & Information Line, two confidential emergency shelters, transitional housing, crisis intervention and safety planning services, legal assistance, therapeutic counseling, legal advocacy, and youth and community prevention education programs”
Check out the links above for detailed breakdowns on their locations/services.
Phone Numbers: (916) 920-2952, (866) 920-2952 Toll Free
Also, for any Los Rios College students out there, WEAVE has a rep on a Los Rios campus every day Monday-Thursday. Check here to find out more.
Stand Up Placer is another resource similar to WEAVE, but focused on the Placer County area. It too offers shelter, counseling, legal support, and more.
Phone Number: (800) 575-5352
My Sister’s House is specifically for women, and especially underserved minority women and their children. It serves the central valley, and has many resources ranging from counseling and housing services to help with employment.
Phone: 24-Hour Helpline: (916) 428-3271
This organization offers a ton of resources from legal help to educational information on rights and compensation. If you are involved in a qualifying crime they may even offer financial aid for things like medical expenses and therapy.
Some Specific Local Shelters
Women’s Health Specialists provides, as the name implies, many health services. This includes but is not limited to reproductive education and health services like STD testing, abortion, adoption, and birth control.
Planned Parenthood is also a great place to find services related to reproductive health and education.
Other Resources (Food, Health, Transportation, and More)
This site is a hub for all kinds of resources in the community from legal aid to food pantries to housing to you name it.
Phone: 2-1-1 or 1-800-500-4931 or 916-498-1000
RedRover is an organization devoted to helping those struggling with various crises, including domestic abuse cover the costs of having a pet.
This is a resource for Native Americans that offers food, shelter, and other emergency services to those in tribal communities who are victims of domestic violence.
National and State Wide Resources
These are larger institutions/resources that aren’t necessarily local, but which may still be very helpful.
This is a national resource with tons of information and educational resources
This is a national resource with phone, text, chat and e-mail contacts. Follow the link for chat and e-mail, for Text, text BEFREE, or 233722, for phone, the number is 1 888 373 7888
The mission statement on Legal Momentum’s website states: “Legal Momentum leads action for the legal rights of women. Our targeted litigation, education, policy advocacy, and research help to shape the laws and policies that affect gender equality and ensure that they are properly implemented and enforced.”
CPEDV’s mission statement reads: “The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence promotes the collective voice of a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals, working to eliminate all forms of domestic violence. As an advocate for social change, we advance our mission by shaping public policy, increasing community awareness, and strengthening our members’ capacity to work toward our common goal of advancing the safety and healing of victims, survivors and their families.”
Many of the resources we’ve listed above can help with finding therapy and/or counseling, but here we’d just like to highlight a few more resources specifically focused on just counseling, and specializing in domestic violence issues
This agency specializes in treatment regarding issues of domestic violence, sexual violence and substance abuse. It is located in Sacramento.
This is a resource located in Citrus Heights that offers one on one and group counseling, specializing in domestic violence.
And of course, us!
We probably don’t need much explanation of who or what we are since you are already here, but in case you are new to SacWellness: we are an online directory for Sacramento area therapists, so we are a great place to find a therapist if you are looking for therapy for any reason. The link we’ve got a cut to there on our name is specifically for therapists specializing in working with those who affected by domestic violence, but users can also search by location, insurance, language, and other issues. Also, relevant to this post, know that you can search by therapists who accept California Victim Compensation.
If you or someone you know is struggling with issues related to domestic abuse, please know there is help available, and that you are not alone.