Domestic violence is an issue within society in which many are hesitant to speak out against, but the month of October is aiming to change this idea through National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which intends to bring an end to this injustice.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman is assaulted every nine seconds in the United States. In addition, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence.
One way NCADV is hoping to bring an end to these statistics is by spreading the word about domestic violence through their own social networks. People can participate by using “#TakeAStand” and write in what or who they are standing up for.
Aside from physical harm, there are emotional repercussions from abuse including trust issues, feelings of isolation and responsibility for the situation. However, individuals feeling trapped in their relationship can find hope for a way out.
“The truth is there are many resources available and there are a lot of people that care,” said Natalie Rios, assistant director at California Baptist University’s Counseling Center.
“Help is available and they don’t have to go through that alone,” Rios said.
Counselors support students by providing a confidential environment, in which people can feel safe.
Ellie Smith*, former CBU student, said she sought help after enduring an abusive relationship, finding support through her friends and family who helped her heal. She said her faith also strengthened her during this period where she learned to surrender to Christ.
“I’m emotionally strong now in where I stand and I’m not bitter toward (the abuser) anymore, and I’m not bitter toward the Lord at all,” Smith said. “This is God’s plan for me. I trust him and understand that’s something I had to go through to know who I am now.”
Smith said she encourages counseling because no one should carry the burden alone. She said once someone breaks free from the cycle of an abusive relationship, the world will be a much brighter place.
“You have to gather enough courage in yourself to know you are stronger than this, you are better than this, and you don’t deserve this at all,” Smith said.
*Ellie Smith is a pseudonym to protect the identity of the source