Peggy Whalen, Executive Director of Womenspace, a nonprofit organization working to end domestic violence, says victims in abusive relationships may feel like there’s no way out. But she says there is help and hope for victims of domestic violence.
If you fear your friend or family member is in an abusive relationship, Whalen says make it a priority to help them.
“You have to remember that they care about this person. They may love this person that is hurting them. And so it’s a very convoluted and complicated relationship with this violence,” Whalen said.
Wwhalen says while it may be unbearable for victims to face the abuse, it may also be tough for them to get help because they fear judgement.
“It’s really hard because a lot of times survivors don’t want to come forward because they’re embarrassed or ashamed. We judge people based on the partners they choose in life,” Whalen said.
Whalen says if your friend or family member is being isolated and cut off from their normal routine, that’s a major warning sign.
“A lot of times what we’re going to see is that the perpetrator is being very controlling. Controlling who they see, when they see them, whether they’re able to do things with family and friends,” Whalen said.
Whalen says the abuse goes beyond physical.
“Well he only hit me one time or he only pushed me or shoved me one time. But did he threaten you? Did he emotionally abuse you?” Whalen said.
“Family disturbances and family fights are really emotionally highly charged. They often end in bad ways. And the officers take them very seriously when they go to them. They’re one of the most dangerous things we do,” said Sgt. David Lewis, Springfield Lewis.
Lewis says police respond to domestic dispute calls daily, and anyone impacted by the violence can reach out to them as well.
“Victims of family violence and abuse, they do feel isolated. A lot of times it’s because they don’t want to cooperate with the police because they fear that this person will get out at some point and harm them, harm their children or even take way their livelihood or place to live if this person goes to jail,” Lewis said.
If you’re a victim or know someone who is, click here for resources on what to do.