October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, we want to remind you that you are not alone. Help is available. You are here and this is so important.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233
Something that is not always acknowledged is the important connection between domestic violence and suicidality. According to Rebecca A. Clay from the American Psychological Association, survivors of intimate partner violence are twice as likely to attempt suicide multiple times [i]. SAMHSA has produced efforts to help increase knowledge on identifying the signs of intimate partner violence and suicidal tendencies. They have emphasized the danger of keeping both separate and the deadly consequences of treating them as unrelated.
Not only does suicide become a factor in the aftermath of a domestic violence survivor but also the perpetrator. Clay notes that threats of suicide from a perpetrator have not always been taken seriously and can result not only in the loss of the perpetrators life but the domestic violence survivor as well. When an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States [ii], it is so important to know how to check with the domestic violence survivors to make sure they are not only safe from the perpetrator but that they have help for their mental health.
Efforts truly started in July of 2014 when SAMHSA hosted a meeting for the domestic violence and mental health fields to help workers at the Lifeline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline be aware of resources for both suicide and intimate partner violence [i]. Local organizations also work to help provide free counseling for domestic violence survivors to help as they work through their situation and the feelings that come with it.
Domestic Violence is a situation when one intimate partner tries to control another [iii]. The YWCA offers a chart based on the experience of multiple women to help breakdown the different categories of domestic violence. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iv] The YWCA can also help connect domestic violence survivors to resources whether it is housing, legal advocates, or counseling.
Domestic Violence does not pertain solely to women and there are multiple resources available to men as well. Male Survivor helps find local support groups and counseling for male survivors of sexual assault or abuse. The website also offers resources for parents and partners of the male survivor as well. The National Domestic Violence hotline also works to help find local shelters and resources for men and offer more information here.
I want this post to not only raise awareness for Domestic Violence but to also help with the reminder to ask those who are domestic violence survivors if they are suicidal. I want to remind you that it is okay to not be okay and it is important to ask for help.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, or know someone who is, please reach out for help. Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at: 800-562-6025. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at: 1-800-799-7233. Local resources can be found through https://ywcaspokane.org/programs/help-with-domestic-violence/.
If you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, please reach out for help. Crisis lines in the Spokane community can be found here. For immediate assistance, contact 24/7 Regional Crisis Line at 1-877-266-1818 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.