Scarier Than Witches And Ghosts
Protection And Service By MPO Jim Whitman, Winter Park Police Department
October is known as the month of tricks, treats, ghosts and goblins. However, October is also known as National German-American and Italian-American Month, American Cheese Month, Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and fittingly, Bat Appreciation Month and most appropriately, Halloween Safety Month.
October is also recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, domestic violence is defined as violent or abusive behavior directed by one family member against another. According to the Center for Disease Control in a 2017 study, one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. It is important to note that the term “intimate partner” refers to current and former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, dating partners, and sexual partners. At this point, you may choose to quit reading as you may say that this doesn’t apply to you. Before you decide to move on, realize that on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Although you may not be the victim, chances are, you may/do know someone who is a victim.
According to Florida State Statute, domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Some apparent signs of possible domestic violence abuse are: the victim tending to isolate themselves from friends and activities that they have previously participated in, frequent absences from work and or school, injuries or bruises that are quickly explained as “accidents.” Often, victims will begin changing their wardrobes to help hide injuries, to include wearing long sleeved shirts which aren’t appropriate for the current climate and wearing sunglasses while indoors. Another clue to watch for is if the victim appears to be “controlled” by their abuser. This can often be seen if the victim has to constantly update their “significant other” where they are and who they are with. When the victim is confronted with any of these observations, they may stay silent or defend the actions of their abuser, often saying that they did something to deserve the abuse.
If you are a victim or know someone who is a victim, please reach out to the Victim Service Center 24 hour helpline (407-497-6701) or to Harbor House of Central Florida (407-886-2244). Remember, your intervention might be just what is needed to help a victim ask for help or by providing this information may give a victim courage to speak out and help end the violence.by