Advocacy: Be aware of violence around youOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to remember victims, celebrate survivors, and educate people about the toll domestic violence takes on the community.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to remember victims, celebrate survivors, and educate people about the toll domestic violence takes on the community. North Shore Horizons in Two Harbors will be raising the bar on awareness all month. The following are some tips from North Shore on how you can be more aware of potential problems in your every day life:
Yes, it is your business
Maybe she/he’s your friend, your brother-in-law, your cousin, co-worker, gym partner, or fishing buddy. You’ve noticed that he interrupts her, criticizes her family, yells at her, or scares her. You hope that when they’re alone, it isn’t worse.
What can you do?
Say something. If you don’t, your silence is the same as saying abuse is OK.
- Be supportive. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen to them.
- Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships or don’t report sexual assaults. He or she may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize his or her decisions or try to guilt them.
- Help them recognize that what is happening is not normal or their fault and they are not alone. Professional help and support are available.
- Help to empower your loved one. Rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power. It is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
- Encourage him or her to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family.
- If he or she has to go to the hospital, police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.
- Remember that you cannot “rescue” him or her. Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately the person getting hurt has to be the one to decide that they want to do something about it. It’s important for you to support him or her and help them find a way to safety and peace.
- Become a volunteer crisis line advocate.
- Join the court watch monitor program. Monitor domestic violence and sexual violence cases as they move through the criminal justice system.
- Stop in and help for the day. There is always something that needs to be done at North Shore Horizons: little maintenance jobs, office work, organizing donations, hanging posters.
- Call 834-5924 to get started.
Consider making a tax-deductible donation to: North Shore Horizons, P.O. Box 206, Two Harbors, MN 55616-0206