Most people would argue they know the signs of domestic abuse: whether its a bruise on one’s arm, a once energised friend turned quiet and subdued, or even abusive shouts by the neighbour to his wife behind closed doors…
These signs are glaringly obvious
Yet, statistics show that one in three women will experience some form of physical or sexual abuse at some stage in their lifetime, and one in four children will be exposed to domestic abuse (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013).
With figures as staggering as this, chances are you know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic abuse.
This begs the question…
How many of us actually know the signs of domestic abuse?
With domestic abuse being such a complex issue with an umbrella of sub categories – sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, systemic abuse where the legal system is used to harass and control a victim long after they have left, and even stalking – it can be easy to overlook the signs.
One of the greatest concerns raised within the issue is victims can often feel alone and disempowered, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to remove themselves and their loved ones from such situations.
In many cases, women lack the financial literacy to support themselves and their children moving forward – forcing them to stay in the relationship just to keep themselves off the streets.
The sad truth is domestic abuse is a much greater issue than what’s often addressed in the media
And many women are afraid to speak up and open up about the subject.
Our job, as a society, is to ensure women understand the support networks and streams available to them. And, more importantly are able to identify the signs of domestic abuse.
Whether it be opening up a discussion about domestic violence, supporting campaigns that work to eradicate the issue, or speaking directly to an official who can help someone who is suffering, there are things we can and should be doing to support the cause.
Having joined forces with the White Ribbon Campaign and being an advocate against domestic violence, which will see me provide a full day of my mentoring services for free, I’m hoping my support and efforts will bring much needed attention to a greatly under-publicised issue and effective support to those that need it most.
With White Ribbon Day taking place on November 25, there is still time to buy your ribbon, take your oath, or do your part to raise awareness and provide support for women and children affected by DV.
For more information on how you can contribute to the White Ribbon campaign, please visit www.whiteribbon.org.au, for women wishing to reach out to me, to either support me directly or to access free financial mentoring, please visit www.thaliastanley.com.au.