The Secrets of the Birds & Bees: Help is not always easy to ask for

The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. This definition is broad enough to encapsulate a number of horrifying “abusive behaviors.”

These include physical, verbal, mental harm or control. Stalking can eerily fit into the definition of an abusive behavior. All of the above are alarming enough that they shouldn’t even exist, right? Wrong.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 percent of women and nearly 10 percent of men in the United States have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner and reported that the violence impacted them in some way.

These numbers are far too high. It can be a tricky situation, in some cases. While of course these situations are case sensitive, a generalization can be made about people caring so deeply about their partner that they will allow the violence or manipulation to escalate to potentially dangerous levels.

No one should settle into dealing with an insensitive and harmful partner. Yet for someone in love, it can be hard and even heartbreaking to come to terms with the fact that the person that represents such a majority of their life can also be a large factor of their demise.

As change can be scary, especially when a person’s wellbeing is at stake, it’s refreshing to know that there are people willing to help. What needs to happen is a spread of word about the resources available to people suffering from domestic violence. There are hotlines and organizations that have information available by phone and online.

However, for people who are having their every move controlled, reaching out for help can become more of a challenge than for others. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is one resource available that provides calls that are completely confidential and anonymous.

Also, the hotline’s advocates have extensive training in domestic violence matters. Upon answering, the advocate will inquire if the caller “is in a safe place to chat.” This is essential to the process of breaking free from an abusive partner, considering how that partner may react given the knowledge that their other half was attempting to break loose.

This is only one of the various resources available to people in this awful situation. If you or anybody you know is being harmed by their partner in any way, don’t wait. Help. If you have a suspicion that someone you know is being treated with violence or manipulation, don’t think.

Find out. It’s up to the rest of us to spread the awareness about these resources.Help yourself. Help your friend. Help someone who won’t (or can’t) help themselves.